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ISSUE 1 •  2017


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10 l 20 enta nm sm iro nali v En our ard J Aw er nn Wi


ican Afr ited uth Lim e So ies Th er Brew



08 General 22 Desalinisation 24 Water 48 Energy

16 Desalinisation 26 COVER STORY: ACSA 40 Sustainable Energy 80 GMOs

simply • Cape Town Office • P O Box 30946, Tokai, 7966 Tel 27 (0) 21 701 1186 SG 4

Publisher Robbie Sammers

Project Manager Kyle Villet

Sales Executive Jacky Villet

Editor Chris Erasmus

Design Kevin Rule

Office Manager Susan Ball

Creative Director Silke Erasmus

Issue 1 • 2017 Volume 10 No.1 •

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52 How to go green at home 64 Flooring 72 Vertical Gardening & living walls 92 Conscious Cleaning

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Copyright Simply Green is a registered trademark and is copyright protected worldwide. Material published in Simply Green, including all artwork, may not be reproduced without the permission of the editor.

Disclaimer Opinions expressed in this magazine are not necessarily those of the publishers or staff.

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EDITOR's NOTE Even as this first issue of Simply Green in 2017 is being 'put to bed', Cape Town metropolitan authorities are responding to a precipitous drop (both puns intended) in the city's rainfall catchment area dams.

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It was almost exactly a year ago that we called attention – for those few not previous attending to the issue – to the fact that there was a looming water scarcity crisis for the entire country, now somewhat diminished through recent heavy rains in the central, northern and eastern parts of the country. But the Western Cape, despite dramatic

thundershowers, has had no real relief and so yet another round of severe restrictions are being imposed in the hope of extending the city's potable water from rainfall storage dams can be stretched out into the (hoped for) forthcoming winter. Inconvenient is not the word for a lack of water; this single factor has been the demise for any number of once-great civilisations around the world, from the Mayan and the Anasazi in the Americas to the Khmer of Cambodia, whose temples and cities were brought to ruin when water stopped flowing or when severe drought hit. A little over 10 years ago Al Gore described what we have now, what was then coming, in his famous An Inconvenient Truth. Living it, we find that we may be pressed beyond inconvenience into a threat to food supplies and, for some of the poorest in the region already living on the edge of existence, perhaps even into a struggle for survival itself. Things are every bit as serious as that. It does not help us one iota that Simply Green, founded in 2008 precisely because a group of climate-aware people got together to create this vehicle for information and related calls to action on all climate and eco fronts, has been ahead of the curve and 'right' about the severity of climate change, and about how quickly it is coming. Indeed, 'coming' is no longer the appropriate term; climate change has arrived, though as yet not in full measure. One can see the shock of that realisation setting in on the face of actor Jack Black, on a National Geographic TV show called Years of Living Dangerously, when he realises that Miami's goose is most definitely cooked, despite the billions of dollars currently pouring into 'prime' beachfront property even as the show was being made (late last year). That city will, beyond even the faintest of doubts, be underwater in the not only the lifetimes of almost everyone who reads these words, but much sooner than that – maybe in as little as 15-20 years. The shock deepens when Black is told that what we are seeing now is the result of CO2 released fully 30 years ago. Since then an awful lot more carbon has been set free into the atmosphere, accelerating the warming effect on the planet

caused by our apparently endless appetite for hydrocarbon fuels, along with a huge quantity of the yet-more severe greenhouse gas methane from rapidly melting Arctic zones where summer temperatures are soaring (by as much as 7-8°C) and winters are shortening. The icecaps over Greenland and even Antarctica are thinning. We are right on the thin edge folks, in case you did not know that – and the fall looks precipitous. When we began Simply Green we realised that people don't want to read a magazine that scares them – at least, most people don't. But there comes a time when failing to speak up is to collaborate in something you simply can't be part of – and we have now to sound the most serious of warnings: as with Miami, so to every coastal city and most riverine cities around the world – they shall be sunk, and not long hence. Even the most cautious of climate scientists (ignoring the obviously deranged or self-interested denialists) agree that climate change is on us and that it is already worse by far than predicted just 10 years back for this time. We can and must tell you that the curve of change is going into the exponential phase as the CO2 of previous decades kicks in, with all that that means. We must now do all we can to save every drop of water, but also to ensure we nurture every pristine environment, reduce our waste dramatically, cut pollution and not poison rivers and the sea. It is beyond a duty to do these things – it is a survival necessity. Some may respond that we are 'alarmist' and 'exaggerating'. Our response is: we shall see. But between now and then let's overlook the reality that the facts are scary and get on with what each of us can do and what collectively we can bring to bear on terms of political, buying and other pressure on decision-makers, public and private, in a serious effort to reduce the most severe impacts that we, and most certainly our children, will have to bear in a profoundly climate-changed future.

Here's to a fantastic 2017. Chris & the Simply Green team

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N ews

BIO MINE DETECTOR A group of MIT engineers led by Michael Strano has converted ordinary spinach plants into biological bomb detectors. The engineers implanted customised carbon nanotubes into the leaves of living plants to turn them into a real-time monitoring system for explosive molecules. When the plants suck water from the ground into the leaves, the carbon nanotubes can detect the presence of any nitroaromatics – chemical compounds often found in explosives such as landmines. When the researchers shine a laser on the nanotubes, they emit a fluorescent signal if they pick up nitroaromatics. This signal can be detected by an infrared camera up to a metre away. The research, published in Nature Materials, has yet to be tested for real, but eventually it could be possible to sow seeds across a site suspected of containing landmines and use the plant detection system to locate them.

For the full story click here.

BIOCHAR AS YOU COOK The latest entry to the biomass stove market is a stylish and functional offering from the Italian company Enki Stove, and while it's designed with outdoor adventures in mind, this clean cookstove would also look right at home on the deck or picnic table. Originally launched this spring via a successful Kickstarter campaign, the Enki Wild and Wild+ biomass stoves are billed as being able to 'cook everywhere with everything', while also converting the fuel materials into biochar, which has been shown to have a beneficial effect on soil health. While some biomass stoves are in the 'rocket stove' category, the Enki models are considered to be pyrolytic stoves, and instead of burning the fuel directly, the design facilitates the conversion of the feed material into gas, which is then burned (also called a gasifier stove) for a clean, smoke-free flame. And while it's still a combustion stove, and entails burning a fuel for heat, this design also allows for the efficient use of small biomass scraps (twigs, bark) and yields a waste material that's potentially beneficial for both carbon sequestration and building healthy soil.

For the full story click here.

AN INCONVENIENT SEQUEL Is the jury still out about whether we’re experiencing global warming, global cooling, the effects of Haarp, or some other hi-tech gizmo that’s quietly busy frying our lovely little planet? We all know there’s much more to that Inconvenient Truth, and Paramount Pictures is all set to release the follow-up to former Vice President Al Gore’s two-time Academy Award-winning landmark documentary about the world’s climate crisis this year on July 28.

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Minimalism: A DocCIE About the Important Things

This intriguing film asks a question we should all be asking ourselves: How might your life be better with less? When Joshua Fields Millburn packs for a trip, he uses a single duffle bag. It contains two button-up shirts, a few T-shirts, a stack of underwear, jacket, toiletries bag, laptop, and a blow dryer. He’s already wearing his single pair of jeans and shoes, so those don’t need to be packed. And that’s it – he’s off and away for a ten-month book tour around the country. Millburn, together with his childhood friend Ryan Nicodemus, is one of the Minimalists. The two-man team is on a mission to spread a message that less is more, that letting go of material possessions opens people up to better human relationships and more meaningful lives, not to mention free time and saved money. They have found a receptive audience. Millions of readers flock to their website, updated regularly with thoughtful blog posts and podcasts, seeking advice on how to focus on the things that really matter in life.

Click here for more info.

A Love Song #ShowTheLove


With the Women’s March on Washington an unmitigated success, scientists are preparing their own demonstration at the nation’s capital. It began, as many of these things do, with a stray comment. 'There needs to be a scientists March on Washington,' someone wrote on Reddit, where several scientists discussed their concerns over what they perceived to be the Trump administration’s antipathy, if not outright hostility, to climate science and other environmental issues. Dozens chimed in with their approval and it was enough to get Jonathan Berman, a postdoctoral fellow at the University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio to start beating the drum. Caroline Weinberg, a science writer and public health researcher who is chairing the march with Berman, told the Washington Post that news about gag orders on the US Environmental Protection Agency and the US Department of Agriculture 'lit a fire under us'. Although the march is in its early days, it has already mobilised website, a Facebook group, and a Twitter account, plus a Google form soliciting volunteers. The group said it will announce a date for the march sometime soon. You don’t have to be a scientist to march, however. According to the group’s website, anyone who 'believes in empirical science' is welcome to take part. 'That’s it,' it added unequivocally. 'That’s the only requirement.'

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N ews 5 ancient civilisations that were destroyed by climate change The Ancestral Puebloans, also known as the 'Anasazi' by the Navajo, are one of the most famous examples of an ancient civilisation that collapsed due to climate change. Once dominant across the Colorado Plateau in places like Chaco Canyon and Mesa Verde (pictured), the Ancestral Puebloans abandoned their distinctive homes sometime in the 12th and 13th centuries, and it's not completely understood why they left. There's evidence of warfare, human sacrifice and cannibalism, but many scientists speculate that devastating environmental changes caused by climate change are largely to blame. First established in the ninth century, Angkor Wat (ancient Cambodia) was once the world's largest pre-industrial urban centre. As the pride and joy of the powerful Khmer Empire, the city was famous for its immense wealth, opulent legacy of art and architecture and sophisticated network of waterways and reservoirs or barays that were optimised for storing summer monsoon waters. However, by the 15th century, the marvellous city had been laid to waste by ecological over-exploitation and a devastating water crisis caused by severe climatic fluctuations. While Christopher Columbus is often celebrated for being the first European to 'discover' North America, it's now widely accepted that Norse Vikings were way ahead of him by more than 500 years. While initial settlements on the southern tip of Greenland thrived for many years, they descended into decline starting around the 14th century. Scientists and historians have come up with several theories that speculate on the possible causes for the decline, though the overarching catalyst was likely the result of climate change as their arrival coincided with the Medieval Warm Period, which lasted from about 800 to 1200 AD and their demise coincided with a return to conditions at its end. Also known as the Harappan Civilisation (present day Pakistan), this Bronze Age society once boasted a population of more than five million and was notable for its highly detailed urban planning and water systems. Two major cities that belonged to this civilization – Mohenjo-daro (pictured) and Harappa – were first discovered and excavated in the 19th century. What led to their ruinous state? Two centuries of relentless drought. Scientists came to this conclusion after studying the layers of lake sediment from an ancient lake known as Kotla Dahar. The classic Maya collapse of the 8th and 9th centuries has captivated researchers for years. Although scholars are quick to point out that the Mayan civilisation didn't technically 'collapse', there's a great deal of mystery shrouding the abandonment of the Mayans' grand pyramids, palaces and observatories. There are numerous theories that attempt to explain what happened – from epidemic diseases to foreign invasions. The leading theory, however, is that sudden climate change brought about an extremely severe 'megadrought' that lasted 200 years.


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Algae-powered oxygen bars could be headed your way in the near future. Designer Adam Miklosi has created his Chlorella Pavilion, a futuristic, basket-shaped oxygen bar that uses the purifying power of algae to suck CO2 out of the air and rejuvenate it with oxygen. The structure is built with molded beech wood, and contains living algae pumped through the core and exterior of the pod in a swirling 'algae fountain'. Temporary visitors would get the chance to experience symbiosis with the algae, sharing with it their exhaled CO2, which the algae needs to survive, and breathing in the oxygen respired by the algae.

Click here for more info.

13 GREAT THINGS THAT HAPPENED IN 2016 Mary Jo DiLonardo, who writes about everything from health to parenting, recently blogged that 2016 indeed had its fair share of depressing factors. From nasty politics to heartbreaking celebrity deaths, terrorism to health scares, it's tough, she says, to look back on 2016 and find positive news, but good news is there and she has shared her thoughts.

For the full story click here.

THE EARTH HASN'T BEEN THIS HOT IN 125 000 YEARS According to a new report in Science Magazine, today’s ocean surface temperatures are comparable to those dating back 125 000 years. Jeremy Hoffman and colleagues at Oregon State University studied chemical clues in 104 seafloor sediment samples taken from areas around the world. By comparing the samples, they were able to create a picture of what the climate actually looked like 125 000 years ago. Scientists regularly look to the last interglacial period to model how Earth’s rising temperature will affect sea levels. Sea levels rose 20 to 30 feet above their current levels, and the average global sea surface temperatures at that time were almost identical to the 1995 to 2014 average temperatures, according to the researchers. According to Science News, this new information will help scientists improve predictions about how our oceans will respond to climate change. SOURCE

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C oncept N ews

FLOATING UFOs Founders Pierpaolo Lazzarini and Luca Solla said they designed their Unidentified Floating Object home for those who desire to 'live in a floating house and move slowly around the world'. With 100 square metres of space, the flying saucer-shaped home includes a main floor kitchen and living area, and lower level bathroom and bedroom. Large windows will offer stellar panoramic views – underwater. Solar, wind, and water power propel the capsule so it functions entirely off the grid. A hydrojet on the bottom of the 'UFO' draws power from rooftop solar panels to transport the home, while wind and water turbines provide additional power. A water generator provides drinking water via collected rain and even sea water. There’s also a vegetable garden on the rings surrounding the 'UFO', as well as a deck.

For more click here.

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UNDERWATER VILLA Dubai is offering the ultra-rich just that and more in these spectacular new floating villas with underwater master bedrooms. Created by the Kleindienst Group, the three-level luxury boathouses, called the Floating Seahorses, are the city’s latest lavish and futuristic developments. The gorgeous marine retreats aren’t just expensive eye-candy – the developers say the buildings are specially designed with high-quality marine-approved materials and will support marine life using artificial coral reefs. According to Quartz, the Seahorse homes are selling for $1.8m and are, despite the price tag, selling quite well. Of the 42 units that are being constructed, at least 35 have already been sold. The floating villas will be moored offshore from Kleindienst Group’s Heart of Europe development, a cluster of six islands in Dubai’s The World project.

For more click here.

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C oncept N ews

mérien French architect Jacques Rougerie has envisioned a giant floating city which bears a striking resemblance to a manta ray. He discusses his love for the ocean in an interview, where he calls himself a 'mérien', a term he coined which translates to 'one belonging to the sea'. His dream is for like-minded individuals to populate his City of Mériens, to conduct research on the surrounding ocean. The city would be completely self-sustaining, running on marine energy and producing no waste whatsoever. If the idea of a structure dedicated to understanding and caring for the oceanic environment isn’t enough, the fact that it is designed to have low to no impact on said environment is even more exciting.

For more click here.

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GREEN LIGHT FOR LUXURY FLOATING ISLANDS The World, Dubai’s artificial archipelago of over 300 islands, will soon be home to 33 luxury floating homes, each with its own garden, pool, and beach and tailor-made to the client’s tastes. Created as part of Oqyana World First, these private island homes were recently given the go-ahead by the Dubai-based government entity Nakheel. Architecture firm Waterstudio.NL collaborated with Jean-Michel Cousteau to design the floating islands, which will also be engineered to provide new underwater habitat for sea life. Designed in the shape of the seven continents, Dubai’s The World project covers an area of 931 hectares, measuring nine kilometres in width and seven kilometres in length. The luxury development includes residential islands, commercial areas with resorts, transit hubs for ferries, and a tourism zone. The islands range in size from 45 000-137 000m2.

For more click here.

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The world is increasingly aware of the many areas where water shortages and droughts have already changed lives, with the just-broken four-year drought in California currently getting major coverage internationally, while many in sub-Saharan Africa are breathing a bit easier as heavy recent rains have broken or partly broken the intense drought which has been affecting our local region. In both instances though, and typical of accelerating climate change swings, the rains that have at least temporarily eased water shortages in some places have been unusually heavy and caused some severe flooding. Apart from the very significant part played by climate change in this scenario, it has been clear for decades that fresh water (water for households and industry) was becoming an increasingly scarce commodity, and alternative sources have been in ever-greater need.


Key to survival? 17 S G


n integral part of planning to mitigate the

anywhere where there is not enough is when that

effects of climate change is the ability

would require massive infrastructure projects such

to supply a burgeoning global and local

as laying major water pipelines through desert,

population with enough fresh water to be sustained and, ideally, support an increasing standard of living. While some countries are already in a significant


water-deficit situation, climate change resulting in

There are at least 10 competing processes to achieve

severe droughts has brought the possible longer –

desalination, but reverse osmosis is the dominant

term problems associated with water scarcity into

one, sometimes used in conjunction with others.

stark reality.

Reverse osmosis has been used for many years on

Traditionally, by far the most important water

small boats, yachts and submarines. The system uses

conservation technique has been the building of dams

a semi-permeable membrane and osmotic pressure

to make use of high river flows in the rainy season.

to separate salt and water, with the smaller water

Substantial opportunities still exist for damming,

molecules passing through the membrane and the

judging by the amount of water that flows into

larger salt molecules, bacteria and other matter being

the Atlantic and Indian Oceans out of South and

left behind.

Southern African hinterlands. But dams have their own

Early desalination was achieved by boiling water

problems and whether by more dams, desalination or

and leaving impurities behind. This is very energy

the intensive promotion of water conservation – or

demanding and the process was refined to operate in

most likely a combination of all these measures – the

a vacuum, reducing the temperature at which water

inevitable droughts of the future must be planned for

boils, and so reducing energy usage. However, this


system was not useable on a small scale for yachts

The combined world's seas make up 97% of all

and ships, and the reverse osmosis technology was

water accessible on the surface of the planet, with

developed for both small and large-scale desalination.

fresh water constituting the remaining 3%. Glaciers

As an example, at least one US aircraft carrier uses

and icecaps cover 69% of the fresh water, and

nuclear power to desalinate over 88 000l of water

ground-water, rivers, swamps and lakes make up the


rest. It is not a surprise, then, that many countries, including South Africa, are water-scarce regions. The

In operation

result is that desalination has become a significant

Of the several other desalination systems operating

factor world-wide in the race to find sustainable

around the world, most are as yet small-scale,

fresh water reserves. Research and innovation in this

including a solar based system, but reverse osmosis

domain are therefore bound to follow.

with innovations such as pre-filtering, is the choice

Desalination & how it works Desalination is as it sounds – the process which

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mountainous or otherwise inaccessible places.

going forward for the major players. The latest trend is to use the heat generated by nuclear (in the case of the aircraft carrier cited above) and other low-cost

removes minerals from salt-rich saline water, to

energy sources (PV being the most obviously flexible

produce fresh, drinkable water. In this respect it is

and mobile, while also being modular in nature) to

one of the very few sources of fresh water that are

help to make the desalination more viable. This field

independent of rainfall. Even waste water re-cycling

is highly technical, and likely beyond most readers'

requires rain initially. So, once the technologies are

interest, so we won't try and make you all experts

operating at sustainable cost-efficiencies – the more

in this complex field here – but the web can readily

so that the significant energy required to separate

provide detail for anyone wanting to dig deeper.

salt from seawater is itself sustainable, low-cost and

Some far-thinking countries have already taken

derived from renewable resources like solar and wind

remedial action regarding their current or imminent

power – the more desalinisation will be set to be one

water scarcity issues via desalination, which is now

of the best long-term solutions to both global and

widely established as a large-scale supplier of fresh

local water-shortage problems for many regions.

water in some parts of the world. In South Africa,

About the only time that desalinisation could

water shortage has been topical for decades, but with

not, in theory at least, provide fresh water almost

large-scale desalination a new consideration has been

A desalination plant in Dubai

A desalination plant in Richard's Bay 19 S G

introduced and perhaps 40% of the population living within 100kms from the coast, (the distance generally considered to be viable for creating fresh water from seawater), a new option arises. With current technology and associated costs, clearly desalination is only an answer when other sources of fresh water are not available. However, with so many aspects of energy research producing breakthroughs, almost daily, the intense focus on desalination can be expected to produce its own innovations in the near future, the more so that the nettle of resolving water security issues is grasped by local, regional and national authorities. In South Africa, recycling of water is undertaken by most municipalities, and the savings in water is

Desalination is as it sounds – the process which removes minerals from salt-rich saline water, to produce fresh, drinkable water. In this respect it is one of the very few sources of fresh water that are independent of rainfall. Even waste water re-cycling requires rain initially.

crucial in some areas. But so far South Africa has not embraced desalination in the same way as it

energy per cubic metre, with an electricity bill of over

(reluctantly initially, and perhaps still so in some

$50m annually. Desalinated water is very substantially

quarters) has gone down the renewable energy path.

more expensive to produce with current technologies,

2017 may well turn out to be the year desalination

including hybrid types, than re-cycled water, while

is taken more seriously in an increasing number of

recycled water is 10 times more costly than reservoir

countries, including this one.

water and only a little less expensive, on average, than

International experience

90% of its water requirements, so desalination will

There is already much international experience to

save that county money, despite its relatively high

fall back on. By 2015 there were 18 426 desalination


plants in 150 countries, producing 5.05bn lts daily

The same equation holds true more or less

for some 300 million people. The two largest are

wherever one goes, so the relationship between

at Ras-Al-Khairr in Saudi Arabia, and in San Diego.

cost and production of fresh water in terms of

Israel already produces 40% of its fresh water by

likely availability in various water-scarce zones will

desalination. South Africa stands 22nd of 26 countries

increasingly be driven by innovations that the reduce

involved in desalination, with the largest plant at

the overall cost per litre.

Mossel Bay producing a mere 15 000m3 daily. Ras-Al-Khair was the first of the seriously large-scale desalination plants which the world will need in the hotter, drier world of tomorrow. It produces 728m lts

One of the very best ways to do that is to produce locally the necessary energy to drive the various desalinisation methods in use or likely to be used. And not going down the costly and difficult

of fresh water daily. It is a hybrid plant which combines


multi-stage flashing with reverse osmosis. The plant

non-sustainable proposition.

was commissioned in 2014 to produce water for 3.5 million people in Riyadh, and cost US$7.2bn.

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piping water from distant sources. San Diego imports






Evidence of this is the fact that overall economic growth in China is projected to almost certainly suffer

The Carlsbad California plant (better known as the

in the relative near future because of fresh water

San Diego County desalination plant) began planning

shortages. The Tianjin plant near Beijing produces

in 1993, but due to 'green' objections, only came on

fresh water for local populations, the power-plant and

stream in December 2015. It uses water from the

salt, all as an integrated system. Tianjin is China's

nearby Encina power station and supplies a minimum

largest desalination plant. It takes water from a

of 190 000 cubic metres daily via a 16km pipeline, but

nearby power station and produces 200  000 cubic

this can be increased by 20% if required. It supplies

metres of fresh water daily. Technology is provided by

about 7% of San Diego County's requirement.

IDE, an Isreali desalination specialist outfit.

Water from the power station is pre-filtered before

The two Perth desalination plants, using a reverse

going through reverse osmosis. It uses 3.6kWh of

osmosis system to produce 140 000 cubic metres

of fresh water daily, use power-station waste water.

assessment of desalination projects is the usage

Energy for the desalination is provided by a wind

and cost of energy. A rate of 1kWh per cubic metre

farm of 48 turbines producing 80MW. This appears

has been achieved by reverse osmosis, and as low

to be, in essence, the kind of multi-technology 'green'

as 0.45kWh in trials. To put this energy usage into

application of sustainable and relatively low-cost

perspective, providing all domestic users in the US

desalinisation solution to our future and/or current

with desalinated water would use the same amount of

fresh problems.

energy as is currently used by domestic refrigerators

The Mossel Bay desalination plant was initiated when the area was in the worst drought recorded in

in the US. However, domestic use of fresh water is a small part of total fresh water usage.

132 years. It cost R250m, produces 15 million litres

By far the greatest users of fresh water are

a day, and was financed by national government,

agriculture and manufacturing, with domestic use

the Mossel Bay Municipality and PetroSA. Ironically,

trailing a distant third almost everywhere in the

by the time the plant came on stream local dams

world. This reality sets the scene for a future world

were again full, and the plant was mothballed. But

in which water is treated appropriately as not merely

it may well be back in use soon, if things do not

the richest of all natural resources – there is just

improve with regards to the Western Cape region's

no life at all without water – but one that will carry

rapidly intensifying water shortage crisis which has

rewards for its careful use, re-use, production and

begun to reach drastic proportions with months to

conservation, and most probably, heavy penalties for

go before any winter rains of significance may come.

'water-gluttony' of any kind.

And without an excellent winter rainfall season,

This last point is a heavy and dark cloud hanging

which would in any case be only a temporary 'fix', the

over conventional mid-20th century to current

Western Cape's water management authorities, we are

industrial agro-industry water practices, which are

told, will almost certainly engage national government

inherently intensely wasteful.

and outside independent entities to deal with Cape Town's and its wider surrounds very serious and

But that is a question for consideration on another day an in another article than this one.


almost annual water crises.

Energy cost the key The






Further Information: Global Water Intelligence International Desalination Association

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D esalinisation AUSTRALIA PIONEERING WAVE-POWERED DESALINISATION Australian wave energy developer Carnegie Wave Energy has announced the world's first wave-powered seawater reverse osmosis desalination plant is now fully integrated and operational. The wave-powered desalination pilot plant is co-located with its Perth Wave Energy Project, on Garden island. While the desalination plant was originally running off the conventional electricity grid, the integration with the CETO wave energy power plant means the desalination plant is now able to run both off the grid and directly off hydraulic power provided by the wave energy power plant, or a combination of both. The CETO system is a wave energy solution which operates underwater, converting ocean wave energy into zero-emission electricity and desalinated water. Unlike conventional surface-type wave energy generators, submersion protects it from large storms. It is also invisible from the shore, and located in areas away from breaking waves and beach goers.

For the full story click here.

POTENTIAL TO PROVIDE THE MASSES CLEAN WATER Taking place every other year since 2010, the Land Art Generator Initiative has sought to provide 'a platform for innovative ways of thinking about what renewable energy generation looks like and how it relates to the overall fabric of our constructed and natural environments'. This year’s proposed solar-powered Pipe is perhaps the Initiative’s most incredible submission to date. Conceptualised by Khalili Engineers, the unique design – equal parts sculpture, machine and architectural project – is intended to float off the coast of Santa Monica to 'remind us about our dependence on water and about our need to appreciate and value this vital gift'' Best of all, Pipe utilizes a solar-powered electromagnetic filtration process to generate as much as 4.5 billion litres of clean drinking water from the salty Pacific. And the process not only desalinates the water, but removes impurities, too. Visitors can even soak in Pipe‘s thermal baths (12% salinity) while taking in panoramic views of the California coast.

For more click here.

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TWO BIRDS WITH ONE STONE When Khaled Moustafa looks at a beach, he doesn’t just see a place for sunning and surfing. The biologist at the National Conservatory of Arts and Crafts in Paris sees the future of farming. In the April issue of Trends in Biotechnology, Moustafa proposed that desalination could supply irrigation water to colossal floating farms. Self-sufficient floating farms could bring agriculture to arid coastal regions previously inhospitable to crops. The idea, while radical, isn’t too farfetched, given recent technological advancements, Moustafa says. Floating farms would lay anchor along coastlines and suck up seawater, he proposes. A solar panel–powered water desalination system would provide freshwater to rows of cucumbers, tomatoes or strawberries stacked like a big city high-rise inside a 'blue house' (that is, a floating greenhouse). For the full story click here.

COMBINING desalination and agriculture Just like The Pipe mentioned in the news snippet to the left, Alexandru Predonu, finalist of this year’s Land Art Generator Initiative competition, designed an elegant solution that uses solar energy to power a rotating desalination plant and farm that not only produces clean drinking water for the city of Santa Monica, but also food crops – including algae. His Ring Garden is capable of churning out 16 million gallons of clean water, 40 000 pounds of aeroponic crops, and 11 000 pounds of spirulina biomass for livestock feed. A desalination plant, rotating aeroponics farm, and algae bioreactor in one, Ring Garden is designed to 'harvest seawater, CO2, and the sun’s energy to create food, biomass, and fresh water,' according to Predonu’s design brief. The plant is powered by photovoltaic panels that produce 440MWh each year. All of that energy is used to power the desalination process and rotate the garden.

For more click here.

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W ater N ews 10 tech solutions to tap the world’s water supply Imaginative solutions from frugal innovations, doing more with less, those relying on replicating nature or biomimicry, all can help boost the Earth’s scarce freshwater resources.


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LOW-WATER WASHING MACHINE A washing machine uses a lot of water, so Sheffield-based company Xeros has developed a device that uses 80% less. It has replaced the liquid stuff with polymer beads. Each machine could potentially save more than a million litres of water over its lifetime.

AFFORDABLE WATER PUMP Some of the most frugal innovations make the greatest difference when it comes to water technology. KickStart design and sell very low-cost, human-powered irrigation pumps to poor farmers that use the power of legs or arms to pump up ground or river water to water crops.

PORTABLE WATER TREATMENT Swedish organisation Solvatten has developed a portable water treatment and heater system that gives access not just to safe drinking water, but also to hot water. It’s designed to be used by off-grid households in the developing world.

MICROBIAL FUEL CELL The fact is cleaning up wastewater is a power-hungry business, so Cambrian Innovation has developed what’s known as a microbial fuel cell, in which microbes pass electrons to and from electrodes. The wastewater is treated and electricity generated.

BIOMIMETICS Danish company Aquaporin has developed a ground-breaking technology that purifies water by mimicking nature. The company has developed a membrane that’s embedded with a protein found in all cells that allow living things to filter out pollutants and get clean water.

FOG HARVESTING In Chile's Atacama Desert it hasn’t rained for hundreds of years, but it does get plenty of fog. Poor communities here need freshwater to drink and irrigate crops, so they’ve developed large mesh fog collectors that use a fine polypropylene mesh that captures water-laden fog.

TURNING WAVES INTO FRESHWATER The SAROS desalination buoy is the brainchild of two graduates from the US University of North Carolina. Their device pressurises water and performs reverse osmosis to purify brine. It currently produces nearly 2 000l a day.

SUCKING WATER FROM THE AIR The WaterSeer relies on condensation and simple wind power to generate clean water from the atmosphere. It promises to generate up to 11 gallons of safe drinking water every day from thin air without the use of electricity or an external power source.

PURIFICATION STRAW LifeStraw is a plastic cigar-like straw that helps in removing potential pathogens, such as dysentery, typhoid and cholera, as well as other parasites from what would normally be undrinkable water. The portable filter uses a hollow-fibre micro-filtration technology.

HARVESTING ATMOSPHERIC WATER Italian designer Arturo Vittori and his team have created a water-catchment system that can produce potable water by harvesting dew, rain and mist using a unique tower structure.


The Ocean Art Photography competition is in its sixth year, and with each iteration, contestants seem to find new ways of capturing the alien beauty of life underwater. SOURCE

SOLAR PANELS TO PULL CLEAN WATER OUT OF AIR A new kind of solar panel is being tested in water-scarce regions of Ecuador, Jordan, and Mexico where the device, called Source, pulls moisture from the atmosphere to provide clean drinking water. Developed by the Arizona-based startup Zero Mass Water, the setup uses solar energy to produce potable water for a family of four or an entire hospital, depending on how many panels are in use. Last year, the company raised $7m to back a series of pilot programs to prove how simple and cost-effective access to clean water can be. For more click here.


Dams and rivers around South Africa have started to rise and flow over the past few weeks but authorities have said this amount still remains below average and we need to continue our efforts at saving water. While the Western Cape’s water crisis still continues in anticipation of the winter rainfall, summer rainfall areas in the country have received much-needed rain since the start of the new year. In Limpopo, recently, videographer Heinrich Stofberg managed to capture on camera the very moment the Matlabas River started to fill up. Click the image, left, to watch.

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C over S tory


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A significant landholder in South Africa, Airports Company South Africa is actively driving a process which will enable it to unlock the commercial value of its strategically located properties around the country, generating non-aeronautical revenue, while providing meaningful opportunities for both property developers and potential tenants. We take a look.

FROM LEFT Zinhle Ntanzi David Wood Nonhlanhla Mayisela

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laying a key role in identifying, packaging and bringing these opportunities to market is experienced property developer and senior

manager of infrastructure and property development for Airports Company South Africa, Nonhlanhla Mayisela. With a background in commercial and industrial property development, Nonhlanhla, who joined Airports Company South Africa towards the end of 2016, has close to 14 years' experience in the property industry, of which the past 11 were spent at Investec Property, where she was involved in a number of development projects, commercial property acquisitions and disposals. 'In the past five years, a lot of groundwork has been done at Airports Company South Africa which has helped refine the property strategy,' she says. 'We are now perfectly positioned to start engaging with the market, having developed and packaged a clear and precise strategy with timelines set to bring projects to market. In so doing, we are actively driving this process with the right people in place internally in order to extract the maximum commercial value of our land, rather than waiting for the market to come and tell us what they want.' Mayisela says the objective is to unlock value the vast ACSA land holdings while balancing the commercial imperatives with ACSA's BBBEE

transformation goals. 'Traditionally the property industry has faced enormous challenges in terms of driving transformation. It's highly capital intensive and you've got to have deep pockets and own property in order be a key player in the industry.' Of the other challenges facing Airports Company South Africa in the property space, Nonhlanhla says: 'Many people see us simply as a company that charges tariffs to airline companies, but we comprise both an aeronautical and non-aeronautical business. ACSA owns and manages significant assets

has meant that airports have become important

and infrastructure which include approximately

retail, commercial and logistical hubs. While the

1000ha of commercial land Our objective is to grow

Ekurhuleni Aerotropolis is an Ekurhuleni Municipality

our non-aeronautical revenue to contribute over 50%

initiative, OR Tambo International Airport is a

to the Airports Company South Africa bottom line.'

vital catalyst in this development, where Airports


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Company South Africa has the opportunity to unlock

internationally popular over the last few years

considerable opportunities, while staying at the

because the reality in the property industry is that

forefront of airport development around the world.

there is a shortage of land, particularly zoned and

'As an integral part and key driver of the Ekurhuleni

serviced land that is strategically located. 'Airports

Aerotropolis vision, OR Tambo International Airport

used to be a place you were you just arrived or

has become a city in its own right, hosting sizeable

departed by plane. This shortage of property space

populations of travelers and workers. The airport

Playing a key role in identifying, packaging and bringing these opportunities to market is experienced property developer and senior manager of infrastructure and property development for Airports Company South Africa, Nonhlanhla Mayisela. With a background in commercial and industrial property development, Nonhlanhla, who joined Airports Company South Africa towards the end of 2016, has close to 14 years’ experience in the property industry, of which the past 11 were spent at Investec Property, where she was involved in a number of development projects, commercial property acquisitions and disposals.

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has attracted business of every type – including retail outlets, hotels, leisure and entertainment,

While their objective is to achieve

conference, convention and exhibition venues,

maximum value on all their land holdings,

office buildings, medical facilities and industrial,

Airports Company South Africa also

manufacturing and distribution complexes. As such, the airport is an important driver of local economic

believe that there is a way in which they

development,' comments Nonhlanhla.

can combine that goal with a model that


works and accommodates new entrants

Plans are in place to redevelop strategic portions

in the property development space.

of OR Tambo International Airport, with a number of development opportunities within and around the airport precinct. 'The project we are currently

a period of time far exceeds the upfront costs

focussing on is the redevelopment of the Western

incurred,' says Nonhlanhla.

Precinct open parking areas into a flagship mixed-use development,' says Nonhlanhla.

Company South Africa continues to analyse each

Having fine-tuned what the development for the

opportunity to determine where we can extract

Western Precinct will look like, the town planning

maximum value for shareholders. 'My mandate is to

process has commenced, so Airports Company

look at development opportunities to package and

South Africa is getting closer to being ready to go

bring to the market, with particular emphasis on

to market. The Western Precinct development will

providing clarity regarding Airports Company South

unlock approximately 180  000m2 of bulk, which

Africa's role and strategy in terms of development.

will cover offices, retail, hotel and conferencing.

How we make those opportunities available is key,'

Mayisela explains that Airports Company South

says Nonhlanhla.

Africa is trying to position itself not just as a

As far as the Western Precinct is concerned,

landowner that merely leases land to developers,

phase one entails getting the town planning and the

but also considers investment in the top structure

necessary infrastructure in place. As infrastructure

through different investment models. 'There are

development forms part of the master planning

various mechanics in terms of where we can get

for the airport, Airports Company South Africa has

involved in the development. As the landowners,

allocated a budget for the next financial year to

we ready to participate in the top structure

start with the work, to enable the first phase of the

development, although we may not necessarily drive

Western Precinct development to be kick-started in

the development,' she says.

the latter part of 2017.

The Western Precinct development will be driven

Airports Company South Africa is ready to

by sustainable design with the office buildings set

implement the full extent of this project, with the

in a green environment with inspiring open-plan

concept, drawings and preliminary numbers in

offices. The buildings will be orientated in such

place. 'We are also talking to a potential user of a

a manner that demonstrates resource efficiency

portion of offices, and have appointed a professional

and sustainable architecture. There is increased

team, so we are well on track,' says Nonhlanhla.

pressure from tenants of the on landlords to take into account green elements when designing


buildings with huge benefit to the tenants being

The Eastern Precinct is located on Atlas Road, with

the cost-savings as a result of the green initiatives

easy access via the R21, R24 and N12. Airports

implemented in the buildings. The Western Precinct

Company South Africa will be releasing around 80ha

development will take this into consideration and

of land, some with existing buildings, with plans for

position the development accordingly.

the space to be developed into an ideally-positioned

'Tenants now understand that while the capital

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Each development is unique and Airports

industrial park.

costs associated with constructing sustainable

'There is now a shortage of land available for

buildings affect initial rentals, the payback over

development in the East Rand. Our Eastern Precinct

land provides an opportunity for us to roll out a

Precinct development comes on stream in the third

considerable greenfields and brownfields industrial

quarter of 2017. From a planning perspective, the

development,' says Mayisela. 'We believe with

first phase is almost ready, with the environmental

everything to the west of OR Tambo International

authorisation in place..

Airport being pretty much fully-developed, with

Mayisela says that Airports Company South

just a few redevelopments to the likes of Isando,

Africa takes transformation very seriously: 'Whereas

Jet Park and Elandsfontein, the Eastern Precinct

previously we looked at each transaction based on a

is perfectly positioned to accommodate demand

certain structure, now we have clear transformation

for industrial space. Land prices further afield in

imperatives in terms of the property development

areas like Linbro Business Park and Longmeadow

opportunities we intend bringing onto the market.

Business Park are upwards of R1200 per square

We understand the current landscape of the property

metre for zoned, serviced industrial sites, which

industry and we believe that Airports Company

makes top developments expensive. In a changing

South Africa can become a key contributor towards

marketplace, the macro-dynamics dictate the ability

transformation in the industry. While our objective is

of a tenant to relocate and expand their business,

to achieve maximum value on all our land holdings,

with economic growth a key driver'.

we also believe that there is a way in which we

Mayisela believes that the location and availability

can combine that goal with a model that works

of bulk infrastructure in Airports Company South

and accommodates new entrants in the property

Africa's Eastern Precinct is a huge competitive

development space'.

advantage. 'The availability and cost of servicing

Expect to see engagement from Airports Company

land is becoming more of a challenge with limited

South Africa in the market in 2017 to showcase this

availability of electricity and sufficient stormwater

strategy and the plans for development of these,

systems. In this regard our eastern precinct

and other property opportunities.


development can be rolled out quite quickly,' she says. Some 52ha in size, the first phase of the Eastern

For more info please visit

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Zinhle Ntanzi is the Senior Manager Infrastructure and Property Development responsible for East London and George Airports as well as Port Elizabeth, Bram Fischer and King Shaka International Airports. We find out more about her.



into consideration the local airport environment,

South Africa since 2010, one gains an

as well as what we can offer from a regional







economy perspective. 'As a parastatal, we need to

complexities of developing properties within the

ensure that the development opportunities that are

aviation space,' she says. 'The current airport

available at our locations can benefit not just the

environment is particularly challenging as we are

airport stakeholder, but the communities around

trying to increase the contribution to the bottom

the airports as well. Further to this, Airports

line of our non-core business - especially with the

Company South Africa is committed to ensuring

economic cycles that we experience. The competitive

that transformation of the property sector plays a

advantage we have is that our land and locations

huge role in who we engage with,' says Ntanzi.




offer property developers zoned and serviced land,

Ntanzi says that within the four airports in

connectivity to national roads and air as well as 24

her portfolio, there is approximately 67Ha of land

hour security within the airport precincts. These are

planned for development over the next five years,

the key opportunities that we need to sell to ensure

the bulk of which has been fully serviced and zoned.

the asset growth of our business.'

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George Airport is situated at the centre of

Strategically, Airports Company South Africa

the Garden Route and offers access to a range of

needs to ensure that we attract maximum value for

tourist attractions. The airport has development

our shareholders - which is why the uniqueness of

opportunities including a filling station and a

each development needs to be well-analyzed, taking

60-bed capacity hotel in the immediate term,

and a further 8Ha and 6Ha in Precincts 3 and 5 respectively. Development rights for the service station and hotel are already in place and these opportunities will form part of a national tender to be issued by Airports Company South Africa in the near future.. The airport will also offer increased connectivity in the future, once the George Western Bypass road

'As a parastatal, we need to ensure that the development opportunities that are available at our locations can benefit not just the airport stakeholder, but the communities around the airports as

has been completed, connecting the Oteniqua Pass

well. Further to this, Airports Company

to the N2, which runs past the airport. Precinct 3 could be considered for mixed commercial uses,

South Africa is committed to ensuring

logistics and warehousing. Precinct 5, adjacent to

that transformation of the property

the southern side of the R102, could be considered for general industrial activities. Bram





Bloemfontein is a key development node for the N8 corridor development. This major project, with

sector plays a huge role in who we engage with.' - Zinhle Ntanzi

several facets addressing various economic sectors, focuses on the development of the N8 national

These opportunities will also be offered to market

road as a development catalyst, linking the three

via a national tender process,' she says.

urban centres in the Mangaung Local Municipality

King Shaka International Airport is situated

(Bloemfontein, Botshabelo and Thaba Nchu) with

within the Dube Trade Port, with the Dube Trade

Maseru in neighboring Lesotho and Kimberley in the

Port Company (DTPC) owning and operating the

Northern Cape Province.

cargo terminal, trade zone, agrizone and an

'Bram Fischer International Airport has been

IT and communication platform on the site. In

one the most interesting projects that I have

2016, the Dube Trade Port was designated an

been involved in. Bloemfontein is the most central

Industrial Development Zone (IDZ) which will

location in South Africa and lies on the main

provide significant incentives for both foreign

road, rail and air links between north and south,

and international investors and put KZN's premier

east and west of the country,' says Ntanzi. 'This

logistics and manufacturing hub firmly on the path

connectivity lends its self to the city not only being

to sustained growth and development.

the economic hub of the Free State, but also one

'King Shaka International Airport has in the past

of the fastest-growing business hubs in South

couple of years attracted international flight routes

Africa. This equidistance accessibility opens a vast

from Doha, Istanbul and Ethiopia. Development

number of development opportunities, one of which

trends indicate that the city developments are

has seen the commencement of the first hospital

gravitating to the northern parts of the metro which

development located within an airport precinct'.

creates further development opportunities in the

The airport has an approved Development

locality of the airport,' says Ntanzi.

Framework Plan and to date Airports Company

King Shaka International Airport currently has

South Africa has fully serviced and partially zoned

11Ha of land available for development - 6Ha

approximately 30Ha of land in what has been

around the airport precinct and the further 5Ha

dubbed the 'Boulevard Precinct'.

situated at Dube City. Both areas are serviced and

'The Boulevard Precinct currently has 4Ha available

zoned within Special Zone 10, which permits usages

for immediate development for warehousing and

such as restaurants, shops, service industry and

commercial offices. The balance of the 30Ha current

parking garage developments, to name a few. These

awaits zoning approval for mixed use development

opportunities will also be included in the national

ranging from service stations, to showrooms, retail

tender to be issued to market.


and office developments, conference facilities and self-storage and light industrial developments.

For more info please visit

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province, Cape Town International Airport is the second-largest airport

in South Africa and recently passed the ten million passenger mark. Notably, international passenger traffic grew by 23% year-on-year, which is testimony to the global attractiveness of the Western Cape as a tourist destination. 'From




perspective, the airport's major advantage is that it is situated very centrally within the greater Cape Town metropolitan area and is encircled by four main arterial roads, namely the N1, N2, R300 and the M5,' says Wood. Through





Aviation Masterplan and a Development Framework process, certain precincts of land have been identified as surplus to aeronautical requirements, freeing them up for commercial development in this key transport hub. The undeveloped portion of Precinct 2 measures approximately 15 000m2 and is zoned for industrial and warehousing use. Service infrastructure is already installed and the precinct is available for immediate development.




approximately 14ha, with excellent road access and is ideal for warehousing and distribution. It is appropriately zoned, with

David Wood has worked for Airports Company South Africa for 20 years, and is a Chartered Surveyor (MRICS) by profession. He is responsible for overseeing the Airports Company South Africa infrastructure and property development portfolio, linked to Cape Town International Airport, together with Upington and Kimberley Airports. We find out more.

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service infrastructure partially installed, but ready for immediate development. 'The Airport Office Park development, situated at the entrance to the airport. The first phase of approximately 3 800m2 has recently been completed, and plans are in place to establish a further three phases, which will culminate in a 14 500m2 development,' says Wood. A

16 000m2 site,




minutes walking distance from the terminal buildings, has been zoned for a 180-bed hotel, with service installation already completed and development opportunity, immediate.


For more please visit

Solarize your Life SunFire Solutions was founded in 2004 by a desire to make Good Quality Solar Products more readily available at affordable prices and harbour a passion for championing planet and pocket saving tech that is cheaper and better than fossil fuels. Weaning our global society off of fossil fuels is a priority for our species longevity and is especially easy in Africa where we enjoy year round abundant sunlight. Initially founded to focus on Solar Cooking (still our main business) SunFire has gone onto to create one of the most comprehensive and affordable ranges of portable Lighting Solutions anywhere in Africa, we have an excellent range of install it yourself Solar Geysers and Solar home systems.

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eroth Energy is spearheading the solar rental industry in South Africa with its Solar-As-A-Service (SAAS) campaign. In the

last eight years, South Africa's electricity tariff has increased a whopping 400%. With SAAS, you have a

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Sectional Titles By specialising in providing affordable clean energy solutions to residential complexes and managing more roof-top solar power in Africa than any other provider, Zeroth is able to give you continued clean energy and offer you future expansions and battery upgrades, which will mean further savings. They do not sell solar panels; they simply give you easy access to cheaper, cleaner energy and take care of the system that supplies customers with renewable energy. How does it work? Zeroth's panels are mounted on common areas such as the roof to absorb as much energy from the sun as possible. Inverters then convert this energy into the same electricity your plug delivers. While this is happening, a meter sends reports to Zeroth regarding your usage and other information to make sure everything is running perfectly. The electrical panel distributes electricity to meet the complex’s needs, while your utility provider continues to supply electricity that is generated by dirty fossil fuels and nuclear power. Because solar energy needs sunshine to generate electricity, it only works during daylight hours. You will still require your grid for electricity outside these hours.

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Commercial & Industrial Zeroth offers innovative options to make its

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S uatainable Energy

Blowin' in the


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In the expanding terrain of sustainable energy for all, solar power has in the last few years taken an ever-more central place, and quite rightly too as new technologies like solar trough arrays have come on stream and the cost of high-out PV cells has plummeted. But this has meant that wind power, one of mankind's earliest renewable energy forms, has been left as something of the 'forgotten child' of the renewable energy revolution. Indeed, wind power has changed the world from one dependent on muscle power, human or animal, to one based on non-biological technology. The utilisation of this natural energy source, sometimes in amazing new ways, has led directly to the development of our modern world. Remember the windmills of Holland that made the European lowlands both arable and habitable, not to mention the era of sail and the windmill water pumps of the Karoo and many other dry places, keeping agriculture, farm animals and human occupants of such places alive, even in the midst of drought? This article is about putting perceptions around wind power back into perspective in the wider picture of achieving sustainable energy for all. Simply put, wind power plays and will continue to play a crucial role in the renewable energy production spectrum.

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orldwide, the conversion of wind

fast-moving jet airliners, though on take-off and

power to electricity was the leading

landing, when most bird-strikes occur, they are a


real and potentially very lethal hazard.




most of the last decade and half, but in the last two

But, as to wind turbines taking out large swathes

or three years, PV in particular has staged a massive

of birdlife, that's just a fantasy dreamed up by the

surge, and moved wind into second place. This does

nimbyists and other naysayers. It is true that some

not mean, however, that wind is down and out, with

birds are killed by turbine strike, but far fewer than

64gW added internationally in 2015 alone.

the doom-sayers had predicted, and certainly not

While wind generation can still claim to be

in any significant numbers that would represent a

inexpensive and good for mitigation against CO2

threat to the eco-balance of any area using even a

production and climate change, some of its practical

large number of turbines to produce energy.

and functional problems have started to become

So the question still hangs in the air, as it were,

clear. Servicing and repairs have turned out to be

about why the Brits are so nimbyish about wind

more costly and, in some instances, more frequent

turbines. The closest anyone seems to have come

and difficult than expected, particularly where

in this regard is that the British are overtly and

turbine towers are out at sea. This is especially true

deeply fond of their notions of the bucolic, tranquil

for the rough and demanding conditions of turbine

English countryside in which, it is evident, the

arrays in shallow water regions off the European

appearance over some distant hill of turbine blades


is equated by opponents – of whom there are many

In part, this has led to a rethink by the UK government which has led, in turn, to the cancellation


of subsidisation for British wind farms. But there is

Weirdly, these inclinations are even shared by

more to the British 'anti-wind' decision than the cost

people who, in principle at least, support wind and

and difficulty of refurbishment of existing turbines

other renewable forms of power – except, as the

– much of it is a manifestation of a peculiarly British

saying goes, not in their back yard.

social phenomenon, known colloquially as 'nimby' or 'not in my back yard'. The British seem especially

Languidly turning

sensitive to the appearance, even at distance,

During a recent outing by Simply Green at the

of turbines moving at what seems a leisurely

invitation of SABMiller to see its 'better barley,

pace as their blades capture the passing wind's

better beer' research and production facilities in

energy, converting that into rotational motion which

the Boland, a swathe of seemingly slowly turning

produces electrical energy.

wind turbines peaking up over some nearby verdant

It is hard to find a solid and rational reason for this widespread British loathing of wind turbines – something that is almost completely absent almost everywhere else where turbines are being used.

hills appeared to those on that visit to add to the picturesque scenery, rather than detract from it. There is, as they say, no accounting for taste – and this example of very different reactions to much

In the UK there was, for a time, a supposedly

the same kind of picture in the UK versus SA around

'strong' argument that wind turbines would be 'bad'

wind farms amid the rural countryside demonstrates

for the natural environment, especially birds which,

the truth of that statement rather starkly.

it was wildly predicted, would die in their hundreds

Putting peculiar British sensibilities aside, wind

or thousands through inadvertent strikes from

power has proven itself to be more successful in

swirling turbines.

terms of average energy output of installed capacity

While it is true that at their tips large wind

per turbine than initially expected. A counterpoint

turbines are moving pretty swiftly, birds are

is that the need for extensive, expensive and

creatures of the air and are used to dealing

frequent refurbishment, especially in the gearing

with other moving objects, specifically threats like

mechanisms of large turbines, has turned out to be

raptors. They manage fairly well with cars – though

much higher in cost and longer in time, as well as

obviously some birds are killed in collisions with

more frequent, than expected.

cars. Thy even cope well, on the whole, with

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– to a fundamental violation to the 'natural order of

The result is that wind power production arrays

are in general usually lower in overall output over a given period of time than had been previously predicted and downtime is measurably higher. All this has pushed wind-generated power, depending in large measure on where that power is being generated, into a slightly higher cost bracket – but not so high as to render it unfeasible. So the appetite among private investors in joint wind power projects on the local scene is hardly diminished. All factors taken into account, wind remains a viable option virtually everywhere it has been used extensively and there is every indication that it will and must continue to play a vital role in the mix of renewable energy options available to us at this point. Indeed, the future of wind power in South Africa could well be brighter than one might have thought during the tenure of former Eskom CEO Brian Molefe whose resignation after embarrassing revelations of his involvement in 'state capture' has re-opened the REIPPP process, as affirmed by President Jacob Zuma in his State of the Nation address recently. Locally, the major private sector operators are highly experienced and have significant technological backup. Financial institutions have been prepared to invest in the larger wind farms, creating a pathway on this front to wind's increasing role in power provision into SA's future. If sufficient sites can be found, and Eskom continues to support the wind turbine sector as a major factor in the renewable energy mix, the potential is significant.

Current production At present there are some 15 wind farms feeding into Eskom, varying from three turbines to 70. The most significant are Cookhouse (online since 2014) with 70 turbines and providing 139MW, Jeffreys Bay with 60 turbines and providing 138MW, and Gouda with 46 turbines, providing 138MW. Suppliers include Siemens, Vestas and Nordex. All indications are that with nuclear now widely considered by virtually all, with the notable exception of President Zuma and his coterie of 'yes-men and women', as being both unaffordable at an estimated R1tn and unnecessary – SA is currently enjoying an excess of power production and, with new elements of Medupi and Kusile power stations due to come on stream, will continue to do so until sometime towards 2025, and perhaps beyond – wind is almost certain to be utilised wherever conditions are most suitable.

The 'back-up question' There is no doubt then that, as in our history, wind and the power derived from it are certain to play a significant role

The future of wind power in South Africa could well be brighter than one might have thought during the tenure of former Eskom CEO Brian Molefe whose resignation after embarrassing revelations of his involvement in 'state capture' has re-opened the REIPPP process, as affirmed by President Jacob Zuma in his State of the Nation address recently. Locally, the major private sector operators are highly experienced and have significant technological backup. Financial institutions have been prepared to invest in the larger wind farms, creating a pathway on this front to wind's increasing role in power provision into SA's future.

in our collective energy future. But it is only fair to highlight

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an aspect of alternative or renewable energy which

of negotiations for new contracts with alternative or

remains a conundrum around what to do when

renewable energy suppliers was a possible indicator

both wind and sunlight are in short supply. In some

of the realisation of the extent of the backup

degree, there is something of a vacuum of reliable


data in this respect. Those in favour, for example, of

But events have subsequently shown that the

nuclear and other 'conventional' power production

backup issue played virtually no role at all in the

methods (gas and coal) claim renewables need as

Eskom-induced cessation of renewable projects

much as 90 or even 100% backup in non-renewable

from early in 2016 until Molefe's departure under a

production capacity. This is obviously non-renewable

cloud of suspicion.

(mostly nuclear) industry propaganda and factually

Still, that does not mean the backup issue

nonsense – it is hardly even imaginable that we

has simply gone away. Given a significant and

could be in a situation where there was so little

simultaneous reduction of wind and solar power,

sun and so little wind at the same time that all

what would we do and how much energy would we

renewable power production would halt.

need to suddenly produce, presumably from costly

There is simply no realistic scenario in which this can happen. And if it ever did it would mean we

There seems no clear answer to either aspect

all had much bigger problems than a mere lack of

of the question as yet. Some industry analysts

electricity for a short period of time – perhaps as a

suggest a minimum of 30% standby redundancy

consequence of something like what humanity faced

for existing renewable energy production is a 'safe'

when the Toba super-volcano detonated roughly

level, which it almost certainly is. But at that level,

75  000 years ago, blotting out the sun almost

the standby facility capital costs, combined with

completely for up to two years and very nearly

high running costs, make the entire renewable

putting an end to the human story.

programme here, or anywhere, highly questionable

On the other hand, it is possible that one could

on a cost-efficiency and long-term feasibility basis.

have a combination of much lower sun-derived

That becomes all the more true the more there is

energy in combination with a drop off, for hours to

reliance on renewables as part of any country's

maybe a day or two, of wind power – though that

power production backbone, or base grid supply.

specific combination of conditions would seem very

A more sensible number might be 10-15% and

to extremely rare in most locations where wind is

perhaps that's somewhere around where we will

being harvested or could be harvested for power.

eventually settle out, if for no other reason than the

Nonetheless, should there be such a combination

sheer cost of having so much standby generational

of environmental circumstances, some backup to

capacity doing little to nothing almost all the time

renewable power derived from wind and sun would

is not tenable.

have to be in place. The real question is how much, exactly – or even, roughly. Neither SA government sources (Eskom) nor

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to run open-cycle gas turbines?

Facts & figures A look at some of the facts and figures involved helps to clarify all this a little.

specialist energy experts have made any significant

So, for example, the average large wind turbine

effort to air this vital issue in a way that is fully

starts to generate at wind speeds of 4m per second,

satisfactory to all stakeholders and role-players.

or about 14km/h. As wind speed increases output

The government's announcement of its intention

increases, only getting to its rated output of about

to spend R50bn on two port facilities to import gas

2.3MW at 40km/h. At significantly higher speeds

has been, in effect, the only indication as to how

the turbine brakes and parks itself at 90 degrees to

thinking may be going on this front, which is toward

the wind. Obviously, wind conditions are seldom at

emergency gas turbine power production.

the perfect rate for optimal output, and even when

During the 2016 hiatus in progress towards the

they are, it's usually not for long as the wind speed

installation of more renewable energy projects in

is either rising to and beyond or falling below this

SA, under the baleful influence of the former Eskom

optimal level. There are very few places where the

CEO, there was some argument that the suspension

wind speed remains a near constant for much or

even a significant portion of the time, and in those places, it tends to blow either much more gently than is ideal or, alternatively, rather more fiercely than is optimal, or even, operationally safe. This is an unfortunate but inevitable problem in dealing with this naturally-produced energy resource. But variable winds have always been with us so long as we have been using the wind to do things like turn grindstones or drive sail ships or whatever – and we have adapted. No doubt improvements in technology will widen the optimal range of future turbines, and also increase the overall range of wind speeds that are strong enough to producing meaningful energy while enabling turbines to safely accommodate higher wind speeds than at current time.

Perspective For these reasons it is hard to know exactly where to pitch our overall wind energy requirement as part of our future energy mix such that we can supply sustainable energy for all and at affordable rates. And so the debate rages on. The advertising of one leading wind turbine manufacturer claims turbines, properly sited, will produce useable electricity 90% of the time. Location, time of year and other factors may prove that figure more or less accurate – or not – depending on many aspects. So generalisations such as that claim are not really very useful – local knowledge and specific conditions will always prevail when it comes to assessing the reliable output of wind energy production. To provide some perspective on all this, one international organisation has rated average wind turbines output at 36%, with PV farms at 26%. On the face of it, wind wins out. But it is not as clear-cut as that since PV farms, especially with the more sensitive and effective technologies coming online with respect to PV, are usually able to put out at least some energy (maybe reduced by 30-40% on heavily overcast days) under almost all daylight conditions. Compare that to whole days or even multiple days in succession during which, in some areas and times of the year, wind speeds are near zero or so low as to be effectively useless in energy production.

Combo answer Regardless of all the above it is Eskom which in SA carries the can for energy production and therefore for any renewable backup required. Wind turbine and PV companies are connected to the national grid, and are

Wind and solar will play a growing role in providing renewable and sustainable energy for all at affordable rates. This statement becomes all the more true as solar trough arrays begin to come on stream in greater numbers and in more places, here and abroad. This last-mentioned technology operates at very high efficiencies, can be put in place very quickly – a couple of years for concentrated solar power (CSP) trough arrays as opposed to a couple of decades for nuclear and coal stations – is essentially modular in nature, thereby taking strain out of the distribution network which claims 30% of the national power production just to move electricity from where it is produced to where it is needed, and is in both the short and long-term the least intrusive, the least costly and the most long-lived (in all probability) of all renewable systems.

paid for the electricity they provide, but it is Eskom which

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It will be a combination of old technologies, being coal and nuclear, which will be slowly phased out, and new renewables combined with backup technologies such as gas turbines, that will together provide us with the sustainable and affordable energy for all that is the requirement for this country to grow and to provide its citizens with what is both their need and right.

must provide quickly available power when these

opposed to a couple of decades for nuclear and coal

sources are reduced or fail.

stations – is essentially modular in nature, thereby

So gas turbines, which very usefully can be

taking strain out of the distribution network which

brought up to operational speed in a short time,

claims 30% of the national power production just

albeit expensively so, will be with us as part of the

to move electricity from where it is produced to

necessary backup for current and future renewable

where it is needed, and is in both the short and

energy production. Time will no doubt tell more

long-term the least intrusive, the least costly and the

precisely how much that backup needs to be.

most long-lived (in all probability) of all renewable

In the meantime wind and solar will play a

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growing role in providing renewable and sustainable

In short, then, it will be a combination of old

energy for all at affordable rates. This statement

technologies, being coal and nuclear, which will be

becomes all the more true as solar trough arrays

slowly phased out, and new renewables combined

begin to come on stream in greater numbers and in

with backup technologies such as gas turbines, that

more places, here and abroad. This last-mentioned

will together provide us with the sustainable and

technology operates at very high efficiencies, can

affordable energy for all that is the requirement for

be put in place very quickly – a couple of years for

this country to grow and to provide its citizens with

concentrated solar power (CSP) trough arrays as

what is both their need and right.


We are giving away ONE Virus Doctor* to the value of R1799.00. Simply send an email to with your full contact details to stand a chance of winning. Samsung Virus Doctor is the best way to protect ourselves against airborne diseases, defeating the cause of airborne illnesses effectively. The British Allergy Foundation (BAF) has approved S-Plasma ion’s efficacy in the elimination of allergens. S-Plasma ion technology generates negative (-) ions only, which function to eliminate airborne viruses, bacteria, fungi, mold, allergens as well as neutralise the harmful active oxygen (OH Radical) for cleaner and healthier indoor air quality. OH-radical can also cause aging and skin diseases. According to the study by Hiroshima University, the active oxygen concentration level gets decreased significantly by the S-Plasma ion generating active hydrogen atom (H) which reacts to the active oxygen (OH-radical) to form a water molecule. Another forte of Samsung Virus Doctor is that is has its own intuitive interface so you do not have to learn how to use it by reading manuals. With a slight touch, it immediately starts to work for your healthier atmosphere. *Colour subject to availability

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E nergy N ews VICTORY IN SA’S FIRST CLIMATE CHANGE CASE The North Gauteng High Court has ruled in favour of environmental justice organisation Earthlife Africa Johannesburg (ELA), and referred the appeal against the environmental authorisation for a new coal-fired power station back to the Minister of Environmental Affairs on the basis that its climate change impacts had not properly been considered. In South Africa’s first climate change lawsuit,





(CER) on behalf of ELA, submitted comments

Molewa’s rejection of its appeal against the

on Thabametsi’s draft climate change impact

approval given to the proposed Thabametsi

assessment on 27 February 2017. The final

coal-fired power station in Limpopo. The approval

climate change impact assessment is due to be

was granted by the Department of Environmental

submitted to the DEA and made available for final

Affairs (DEA) even though there had been no

comment, shortly.

comprehensive assessment of the climate change impacts of this new coal-fired power station.

CER attorney Nicole Loser notes: 'A climate

change impact assessment requires far more than

The court ordered that the Minister reconsider

just an assessment of the proposed project’s

the appeal, now taking into account a full climate

greenhouse gas emissions. Climate change is

change impact assessment report, and all public

going to have significant impacts for South Africa’s

comments received. The judgement makes clear

water availability and will result in extreme weather

that the DEA and the Minister should have given

events such as floods and droughts. We are very

proper consideration to the climate change

relieved that the court has recognised the need for

impacts of the proposed coal-fired power station

an assessment of the power station’s contribution

before a decision could have been made to allow

and exposure to these impacts.'

it to go ahead.

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ELA challenged Environmental Affairs’ Minister

Lekalakala says: 'We now call upon the

Makoma Lekalakala of ELA says: 'We welcome

Minister to give full and proper consideration to

this judgement, which sends a strong message

Thabametsi’s climate change impacts – which the

to government and to all developers proposing

project’s environmental consultants have found

projects with potentially significant climate change

will be significant – in making a decision on

impacts in South Africa that permission cannot be

whether to uphold Earthlife’s appeal.'

given for such projects unless the climate change

Together with groundWork, ELA and the CER

impacts have been properly assessed. South Africa

form part of the Life After Coal/Impilo Ngaphandle

is a water-stressed country, and the Waterberg,

Kwamalahle campaign, which aims to discourage

where the power station would be located, is a

investment in new coal-fired power stations and

particularly water-stressed area. Climate impacts

mines, accelerate the retirement of SA’s coal

are a big deal for communities and farmers who

infrastructure, and enable a just transition to

depend on the limited water available.'

renewable energy.

A Time-Lapse Map of Every Nuclear Explosion Since 1945 - by Isao Hashimoto

China orders a halt to over 100 coal-fired power plants While one US state works to support coal power by banning renewable energy, the Chinese government has ordered the closure of over 100 coal power plants in an effort to improve air quality and reduce fossil fuel use. Reuters reports that the plants’ combined capacity is over 100 gigawatts of power, and they’re worth a total of US$62b.


Dutch parliament votes to shut down all of the country’s coal plants

The Dutch parliament recently voted to shutter the nation’s coal industry in order to achieve a 55% cut in carbon dioxide emissions by 2030 – meeting the target set by the Paris climate deal. The vote would require shutting down the five coal power plants currently operating in the Netherlands, three of which just came online in 2015. This move will surely set a strong precedent among European nations for policies to slow the effects of climate change. SOURCE

Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) says Wind & solar energy could cost R90b less than nuclear According to research presented by the CSIR's centre manager for energy, Dr Tobias Bischof-Niemz, who was speaking at a public forum on the Department of Energy’s (DoE) Independent Resource Plan (IRP) held in Boksburg, renewables such as solar PV and wind energy would make up 34% of the carbon mix and 27% of the baseload mix. However, in its own revised scenario with the least cost and least constraints to renewables, the CSIR estimated cost of energy generation would be R490b.

For the full story click here.

Eco-Cooler: Grey Dhaka unveils world’s first zero-electricity air cooler made from plastic bottles

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As we all know, electricity and water cost a pretty penny these days in South Africa. It's time to stop paying bills by habit just to keep the lights on. After all, it is your hard-earned money. If you're using it, you're paying for it and so if you're wasting it, you are sure to be paying even more. But here is the good news, Johannesburg-based energy saving company Isiphiwo Fusion is here to help. Let's find out more.

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siphiwo Fusion prides itself in the innovation

consumption of businesses and likewise, the energy

and the quality of its products and services.

cost to business in making products & services

Their goal is to deliver economic benefit to

available to the market. With the rising costs of

both professional and non-professional users. In just

electricity, businesses and homes need solutions

eight years, they have archived significant growth

that can not only help them reduce the cost of

and harnessed their skills by leaps and bounds.

living, but also the cost of making a living.

Today, they have a team of certified professional

Switching to energy efficient lighting can save

energy managers and a customised product and

up to 10% of electric consumption in commercial

service offering that gives clients the best value for

sites and up to 5% in residential buildings. IS-Fusion

their money, at competitive prices. Their strategic

supplies a range of light bulb fittings from LED

partnerships also offer world class products to

down lighters to LED flood lights and low wattage

clients and expert engineering consultation. It is

fluorescent lamps. Accessories like motion sensors

their promise to help you discover the leaks in your

are also prescribed to maximize savings.

ship and set you off to smoother sailing.


Their showerhead products come standard with a three year warranty for guaranteed quality. Vandal resistant showerheads are available for public and

Find out where you are losing money and why?

industrial shower sites with a high density of users.

Efficient energy savings requires more than replacing

A special design allows a comfortable pressure to

old technologies with new technologies. It's time to

continue to flow while a very significant amount of

focus your resources wisely and attain full value

water and energy are being saved.

for your money. A site audit can identify quick








wins; these are changes than can be implemented

reliable today more than ever and has provided

immediately to save you energy, water and money

convenience; accuracy and excellent energy savings

without having to purchase any new technologies. A

all around the world. From ordinary homes to mega

full site audit will also help create a strong financial

factories, individuals can now manage their power

argument towards future investment returns from

consumption from their office desk and even the

energy and water efficiency projects. Investing in

palms of their hands. Isiphiwo Fusion distinguishes

energy savings is rated one of the most low risk and

itself by staying abreast with technology trends and

high return investments available on the markets

providing, better and user-friendly management

today. Take a site audit, understand your building

systems for all consumer types.


and it's requirements.

Services & Products

For more info please click here.

Isiphiwo Fusion offers a variety of service and products that are tailored for the consumer’s needs. As business evolves, IS-Fusion has focused on critical areas such as reducing the energy

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n e e r g

o t ow


at home

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Many of us want to 'go green', especially in the home, but we don't always know where to start. Any journey begins with knowing your starting point and your destination. So first get a better understanding of what you're using. Set goals and then take action – with help from the Green Building Council's guidelines below.

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he 'problem' with 'going green' at home or in


These two components of home consumption of

the workplace – or in any context in fact – is

resources represent the areas of greatest concern

these days seldom with the idea. It is the

and also where the greatest and easiest savings may

practicalities that lie in the nitty-gritty reality of daily

be made. In order to track their progress, meters

life where the 'going green demons' dwell. One of

were installed in the Ngwenya's home to keep tabs

the key problems for those who have understood

in detail on electricity and water use.

the necessity but have not begun the 'going green'

The family was also producing some 15kg of

journey in earnest is where to begin – there are just

waste a week, on average. They worked out that

so many things to be do and be done, both small

their annual electricity kWh size of their home

and large.

space was: 41kWh/m²/year. To reach this figure

Fortunately for those now engaged in more

the family took the total annual energy utilisation

conscious lifestyle changes is that there are many

of 8880kWh for the previous year, and divided that

people, companies and organisations that have not

by the 218m² house size – easy, really. It was just

only travelled down this the road before us, but

as easy to establish from these figures that each of

that, in some instances, are overtly playing the role

the four members of the family used an average of

of way-shower.

2220kWh per year.

One such is the Green Building Council of South Africa (GBCSA), who have gone so far as to give basic


guidelines for those wishing get on with cutting

How does your home compare? Is your home usage

back on their consumption, recycling their waste

more or less efficient? If you can answer those two

and reducing their carbon (and other) footprint on

questions with hard, real numbers, you are already

the planet.

on your way to a greener home environment.

So there is no need to re-invent this particular 'wheel' from scratch – in fact, all the information

The Ngwenyas also measured their water usage per person in a similar fashion.

necessary to begin the 'green home' journey is

To see exactly how much they're using right

already available.

now, see the Ngewanas' real-time electricity (and


water usage) here.

Here are some basic first steps for starters – and

consumption levels, and, as they say, 'measure to

for those already engaged, most of whom will

manage'. If you want to save the most, figure out

already know this, 'going green' is a journey not a

where you use the most and tackle the biggest

destination, so whatever steps you have taken to

cost-drivers first.

So step one is to investigate your own

If you don't 'know your numbers', then you

date, they are merely the foundation for what comes next.

can go to the My Green Home website to begin your journey into what your real family home

1Evaluate your consumption

consumption is.

It is critical to know, on any journey, where you are before launching off in any particular direction.

2 Useful tools

In this regard, with going green in the home you

Understanding the quantum of power, water or

simply have to know your current consumption

anything else being used may be the crucial jumping

(that is, of all consumables, including energy, water,

off point, but how, many ask. And what do terms

paper, glass, plastic and other materials) so that you

like kilowatt hour (kWh) actually mean? Here are

have a baseline from which to work.

some answers:

The GBCSA gives the example, in this context,

costs and did an eco-audit at their home. Over the

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Understand your utility costs with this handy guide.

of the Ngewana family who analysed their utility •

What is a kilowatt hour and how much energy

preceding year, they used an average of 740kWh of

do my appliances use? Find out with Eskom's

electricity and about 45kl of water per month.

Guide to Appliance Energy Usage.

Evaluate your household energy consumption by conducting an eco-audit at home.

What is your home's kilowatt usage per year? Find out how to calculate your home's annual number in kWh/m².

How do your appliances measure up? Calculate their individual operating costs with Eskom's Energy Calculator.

Conduct a quick and easy energy audit of your home with Eskom's Comprehensive Energy Audit Calculator.

For a broader approach to living greener, you can start living in a more sustainable way with the help of The City of Cape Town's 'Smart Living Handbook'.

Recommended sites As we have said, there is no need to re-invent the 'going green' wheel these days as there are many resources, especially online, where one can enter into what may appear to be an intimidating arena of life with relative ease and simplicity. The following websites all supply useful tips, hints, information, techniques and tools to help you on your new green journey. Or, if you have already launched down this track and have covered some or most of the 'basics', then you will quickly see which next steps are applicable to you. •

Eskom's tips on managing your home's energy consumption.

The 49M Campaign spreads the light on countrywide power saving.

The City of Cape Town offers practical advice on how to save electricity, including Top Ten Ways to Save in your home.

Check out eThekwini Municipality's Shisa Solar progamme and equip your home with a solar water heater today.

3 Set your goals Once you have your numbers under control you are ready to begin setting targets and goals for significant reductions to save both resources and your pocket. Going back to the Ngewana family, after establishing their baseline energy usage, they aimed to save 15% with no-cost changes, and 40% with efficient equipment within a given period (a good timeline target in this regard would be about

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4-6 months), and to drop consumption into a lower

cost more than R1 000. Depending what you choose

tariff category (less than 600kWh per month, or

to do and what you can afford in this zone, return

15kWh per day).

on investment could run into a couple of years.

On the water front – ever more critical, despite

But with reducing solar water heater, PV and home

some heavy rains in the northern and eastern parts

turbine costs, either or both solar and wind power

of South Africa recently – they targeted a 20%

could drop your costs dramatically and set you on

water reduction, recycling 75% of their waste, and

a path of power independence or much reduced

aimed to ensure that at least 50% of their cleaning


products were 'eco-friendly'. You can click here to see if they achieved their goals and how they are making progress.

Your challenge

What each person can do is, firstly, realise that much of what they would like to achieve in terms of cutting costs and reducing their impact on energy

Set your own goals, with your family size and unique

and water consumption – the two most important

home set-up in mind. How far do you want to go?

'going green' areas in the home – are easily doable.

Remember there are steps within steps, so outlay

Do not be put off by words like 'eco audit' or

and cost may be easily controlled as you bring down

technical terms of water or power usage as these

usage – and the savings made can then be invested

are easily understood and explained on the various

in following steps which may cost something but

sites mentioned in this article.

will save even more. The three main approaches are:

In the case of the Ngewana family, they started

No cost: Change your habits only and save at

their green home journey by actively learning more

least 10%.

about energy efficiency and 'going green'. First,

Low cost: Buy products worth up to about

they developed efficient habits that don't cost a

R1  000 (installed cost), which can typically lift

cent. Then they were the lucky recipients of a major

savings up to about 30%. For many the return on

'retrofit' upgrade of their home. Once the house was

this investment will be apparent well within the 4-6

as efficient as possible, solar photovoltaic panels

month timeframe we are discussing.

were installed to generate renewable electricity,

Invest to save: For maximum savings of 50% or more, add 'highest impact' interventions which

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What you can do

thereby supplying some of their needs.

How can you start saving now? You can get going with the range of actions described below to start greening and saving now.

Install a solar water heater, or

A heat pump water heater.

These are the few things which will have the biggest

Lighting options

saving impact. They are classified according to cost,

Consumption when it comes to lighting (and other

and key 'saving areas'. Do what you can afford now,

power usage) in the home often comes down to a

and use the savings to invest in achieving more.

change of habit that costs nothing and saves a lot.

For maximum savings, the truth is that you'll need

Here are some no-cost options:

to invest in equipment. But it's a wise decision,

Switch your family on to switching off

lowering expenses, increasing the value of your

Let the sun shine in

home and for leaving the Earth in a better state for

When choosing interior paint, lighten up.

future generations too. Track your progress as you go, and share your journey.

Low-cost lighting options There are a number of really quite low-cost options

Be part of the journey Comment on this website, and share My Green

for lighting which don't imply a return to the 'dark ages' just to save on electricity. Try these:

Home with your family, friends, colleagues and

Replace your bulbs with LEDs

network. The following steps will expand on

Conserve cash and energy with CFLs (cheaper than LEDs but less cost-effective in the long run)

points made above and help guide to you to a much greener, much cheaper and generally much

Stay secure with motion-sensor lights outside

better home environment in which you can still be

Put light only where you need it.

comfortable, use modern utilities and facilities but have a much reduced impact on our dwindling or

Investing in lighting

limited resources.

If you are going to be renovating, building or simply are determined to drive down your lighting costs to

No Cost options for hot water

a minimum, you could consider:

Controlling cost inputs for hot water in the home is

Renovate to be LED-friendly

one of the crucial areas for possible reduction and

Let the sky light dark rooms with installed sky-lighting.

great savings – up to 40% of total electricity costs in some cases. For hot water cost savings, these steps are suggested:

Heating & cooling

Turn your geyser down to 55-60º

Temperature control in the hot summer and cold

Take a shorter shower (2mins should be fine)

winter are also major energy consumption issues.

Switch off the geyser when you go away or in

For no-cost options try these:

the hours in the day when no-one needs hot

a through-breeze by open windows at opposite

water, giving the geyser about 60-90mins to

ends/sides of the house

heat the water up prior to use.

Low cost options For low-cost hot water try these ideas:

Put your windows to work – when it's hot create

Dress for winter success when it's cold, rather than merely pushing up the thermostat

Give your air conditioner a winter job.

Install a low-flow shower head

Connect a timer to your geyser so that it only

Some low-cost options include:

heats water, say, early morning and for a couple

Put heat only where you need it

hours in the evening

Dodge the draft.

Keep your geyser and pipes snugly insulated.

Invest to save options

And some more costly but ultimately more effective steps include:

For options which may cost a bit but will certainly

Give your fireplace a window

save you quite a lot in the short to medium term and

Protect your home with adequate insulation

a great deal in the long run try:

Save in summer and winter with ceiling fans

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Allow summer's heat an escape route (maybe with a skylight that can open or ventilation in the roof or at roof level).

And there's more Beyond the steps outlined above, there are similar no, low and some cost actions to be taken with appliances, such as stove, fridge, tumble-drier (best not used at all if possible since it is an energy-hungry beast) and so on. Most such appliances have EU-certified energy ratings and you should pay

attention to these, along with price, when making your next purchasing decision. When it comes to water saving there are obvious steps along similar lines such as installing dual-flush toilets, buying a washing machine with a cool wash

When it comes to water saving there are obvious steps along similar lines such as installing dual-flush toilets, buying a washing machine with a cool wash capacity, and never leaves taps running unnecessarily such as when brushing teeth, keep showers short and baths very shallow (showering briefly is far more water-efficient).

capacity, and never leave taps running unnecessarily such as when brushing teeth, keep showers short

Cover your pool

and baths very shallow (showering briefly is far

Get on your bike and ride (or walk) to work, the

more water-efficient).

Waste & toxins

shops or the local park •

local ordinances, especially in water-stressed

Waste and household toxins present their own challenges but are relatively easily managed by

areas like the Western Cape •

taking some of the following steps:

When travelling try to use public transport and save, where possible and wise

Reduce, reuse and recycle – in the right order

Help the recyclers by separating your waste

Keep toxic anything out of your cupboards

Get clean without antibacterial soaps

Indigenise your garden with water-wise plants

Keep your biodegradables in the biosystem and

Grow your own organic food in your home

a low or nil set of wheels with respect to CO2 tax

out of landfills (where they tend to make the

garden – you'll be amazed how much you save

highly potent greenhouse gas methane, thereby

and how much better you and your family will

dangerous climate change) • •

Use microfibres instead of chemicals for

Ultimately, you should try to get most or even all your home energy for free using power generated by the sun: PV, solar water heater(s)

Go natural with your pest control – it's

and a wind turbine with, in the best of all cases,

doable and no more costly than using deadly

a battery array to store your daylight energy for

or your pets

feel when eating proper organic food •


insecticides that could harm you, your family •

If you use your car daily for your commute, make your sure your next vehicle purchase it is

contributing to global warming and costly and

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In the garden water wisely and according to

the nights. There are many more subsequent steps that you

Buy quality and keep it – no more replacing

can take to improve the energy, water and waste

appliances and such without the need

profile of your home and reduce the footprints of

Upgrade your tap water by using a proper filter

all three. These started and intermediate steps may

system that does not also denude your water of

inspire you too to become a serious 'green home'

necessary health-building minerals

enthusiast – and your every success will inspired

Don't work the pool pump overtime, or even

family, friends and neighbours to perhaps follow

more than absolutely when necessary – you may

suite, or at least see that greening the home is

be able to get away with a twice weekly clean

doable without huge effort and cost. In this way

but if not try for every second day

each and every one of us can contribute to a better,

Buy a variable-speed pool pump

greener future for all.




HOME Energy Partners Home Solutions Installation at Val de Vie Estate with Thin Film Panels

We would all like to use less electricity, be less dependent on the grid and reduce our environmental impact. Energy Partners Home Solutions are helping homeowners and small business owners achieve this by combining energy efficiency and Solar PV to optimise their home energy. Their systems are fully modular so you can start small and build up to complete independence over time. Let's take a closer look.

Energy Partners Home Solutions Installation at Val de Vie Estate with Thin Film Panels


nergy Partners Home Solutions launched

highest potential for solar energy generation in

in Cape Town in 2016 and has a proven

the world, with approximately 2  500 hours of

record of reducing electricity costs for

sunshine per year. Yet there is still a relatively

homeowners. It has fast become one of the leading

small percentage of the country's residents who

residential and small commercial energy solutions

are actually taking advantage of this low-cost

company in the greater Western Cape and has


already started installation at a few houses in the Gauteng area.

'We are delighted to launch Energy Partners Home Solutions in Gauteng. Our focus is simple,

The company provides a full range of solar and

to bring cutting edge solutions to people's homes

energy saving solutions for the consumer market,

and small businesses to help them become

including the Energy Partners Home Solutions

energy independent. With the backing of a highly

ICON system, which incorporates energy efficiency,

experienced team of engineers and more than six

renewable generation and backup solutions to

years of achieving energy savings in the billions of

reduce a home's reliance on the grid by more than

Rands in the commercial sector, the natural next

50% and often up to 90%.

step was to bring these expertise and knowledge to

'Our solution enables home owners to take

the smaller consumer in South Africa who effectively

control of their energy, by supplying a set of reliable

pay the highest premium per unit of electricity

products that form a fully integrated home energy

purchased,' says James Chapman, who heads up

solution which combines lighting, water heating

the Gauteng division of Energy Partners Home

and renewable energy all effortlessly managed and


monitored from a simple app on your smartphone',

In addition to their range of products and

says Cala van der Westhuizen, Head of sales and

solutions, Energy Partners Home Solutions also

marketing for Energy Partners Home Solutions.

offers various financing options for homeowners

'South Africa is one of the countries with the

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The Energy Partners Home Solutions Icon Inverter and lithium

looking to reduce their energy spend. 'One of the

m ion battery

The Energy Partners Home Solutions Integrated Heat Pump & Storage Tank

only challenges that keep most homeowners from implementing smart energy solutions is the price. Any quality home solar solution is still prohibitively expensive for most consumers, with the cost ranging between R100 000 and R500 000,' Chapman says. He states that in response, Energy Partners Home Solutions developed financing options for their solutions and registered as an approved credit provider under the National Credit Act (NCA). 'Energy Partners has also developed a long term lease model, where you can simply lease the system

Home & Small Business Options Energy Solutions, in which JSE-listed PSG has a significant

for this Performance Lease Agreement (PLA) which

Chapman states that there has already been significant interest in the Gauteng region for solutions from Energy Partners Home Solutions. 'There is also a lot of scope for Energy Partners Home Solutions to provide services to small and medium enterprises and the Energy Partners Commercial Solar division is already in the initial stages of a large solar installation in Pretoria.'



home (or small business) a more energy-efficient place with much lower costs. The company offers three main options for optimising energy use in your home: •

Energy efficiency – replacing your old geyser and lights with the latest, most efficient technology

Solar PV – installing panels on your roof to generate your own electricity, at lower cost than

can have you go solar with a minimal capital expenditure.'


provide a full service to those who wish to make the

instead of having to pay for it upfront. Clients that qualify under certain criteria will also be eligible


products for both home and small business. They

you buy it from Eskom •

Battery storage – adding batteries to your system But do you need all that as a home owner? The

answer, says Energy Partners Home Solutions, is that the numbers speak for themselves. By combining energy efficiency and solar PV their system will give you much bigger savings, as well as pay for itself in half the time. You can always add components in stages – this is because their system is modular and

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can always be expanded upon.

hundreds of thousands of rands over their lifespan.

While a major energy-efficient home solution

There are also alternative payment solutions

may seem complex, it is actually quite easy when

available, such as leasing the system from the

carried out proficiently. The company has designed

company (meaning you save from day one), or

its process to make it simple for you, the home

deducting the system from your business' income

owner. When a consultation is requested, a home


energy adviser will assess your home and walk you

The cost and savings for systems on two typical

through every step of the process. Find out more

family homes are shown on the company's website

about the process here.

and can be studied by clicking here.


For more info click logo below


The biggest energy user in any home is heating water, which typically accounts for 40-50% of your bill. Energy Partners, therefore, replace your current geyser with a heat pump – a device that heats water just as effectively, while using only a third of the electricity of a normal geyser. See how it works here. They will also replace any of your old lights and downlighters with highly efficient LED lights. These use about a tenth of the energy of traditional light fittings and last 10 times longer. Find out more about LEDs here.

Self-generation A solar PV or photovoltaic system consists of two main elements – the panels on your roof that generate electricity, as well as an inverter that converts it into power your appliances can use. See more about our solar panels and inverters here.


The Energy Partners Home Solutions Integrated Heat Pump & Storage Tank with the Icon Inverter and lithium ion battery

The only sure way to avoid load shedding or other grid outages is to add a battery to your system. Batteries also increase your savings (financially and energy-wise) by storing extra energy generated during the day for use at night. Find out about our advanced lithium iron phosphate (LiFePO4) batteries here.

Savings How much you can save, as well as how much your system would cost, will depend on many factors – like where your home or business is, your roof, the type of appliances you have and your tariff. In most cases, this company's systems save 50-80% on domestic electricity bills. These savings mean that the systems can pay themselves off quickly – typically in less than seven years – saving you

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The Energy Partners Home Solutions Thin Film Solar Panels installation in Camps Bay, Cape Town

Mother Nature Products have been proud manufacturers of great green baby products in Cape Town, South Africa, since 2006.

021 782 9117 •

F looring

ep st on to m so


n hi et

e gr

en Flooring is an interesting, and maybe challenging, aspect of modern living. There are so many options but how many of them are really 'green' in the sense that they have low-impact, are cost-effective, and hopefully recyclable, once their working lives are over? We take a look at some options.

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o you walk into a room and chances are,

design rather than make it feel like a 'government

unless you are an interior designer, architect

office' cheap throw-back to the 1940s, this is

or have some overt interest in flooring, you

not a final finish of choice for most people and

are not really going to notice the floors much. Floors

most spaces. Concrete, also has its upstream and

need to be functional, safe to walk on (not slippery)

downstream aspects with respect to sustainability,

and not ugly or hard on the eye or ear. Beyond that,

carbon footprint and all the other criteria we now

most folk simply don't think about flooring much

routinely apply to any end-use product, so if you

– look at the mass-produced, low-quality carpeting

are going to go the concrete (or equivalent) floor

in most offices to see what is meant by floors not

finish route, those aspects must be thoroughly

enjoying a more high profile when it comes to

investigated, especially for 'hidden' carbon and

considering eco and human-friendly options.

other costs to the environment. Concrete is also

One of the things hardly anyone thinks about is

completely recyclable, if nothing else, as fill for

that both hard and soft flooring can have immediate

other building projects, so none should go to

health impacts, especially when newly laid, on those

landfill or become loose rubble and useless waste.

using them. This is the case when either wood, wood-equivalent or carpeting is laid while volatile organic compounds (VOCs) are still outgassing from the material itself or from adhesives, where those are used.

Greener choices

Much greener options include both bamboo and, perhaps surprisingly, recycled rubber. Let's start

Indeed, while we hardly give flooring a serious

with bamboo, rapidly becoming an option of choice

thought when walking on it – unless it is ugly,

both in the home and in the office and other public

dangerous, noisy, or in some other manner unduly


attracting our attention – a lot of thought goes into flooring both once it is laid and, perhaps, after it is lifted in favour of something new.


Bamboo is quick-growing, tough and eminently


variable. It is almost the perfect green material as

There are so many options available today, from

material for applications in flooring but also

traditional hardwood and vinyl through to modern

furniture, wall panelling and many other finished

variants (which make a long list). Looking at

applications where hardwood would once have been

'traditional' flooring, long-board timbers are still

used. But it has, potentially, its own issues.

the bamboo can be compressed into a hardwood-like

available, as are hardwood parquet and panelling.

These include whether the bamboo being used

But while beautiful and hard-wearing, hardwoods

is grown, harvested and processed in the most eco

are increasingly rare and are often such floors find

and human-friendly manner possible. That much of

their origins in old-growth forests which really ought

the bamboo we are currently using for flooring and

not be touched, and certainly not for hardwood on

other applications is coming from China, it follows

our floors (or anywhere else for that matter).

that a detailed look at the sourcing and processing

Vinyl is vinyl – and is produced mostly by the

is required to establish whether the bamboo you

petro-chemical industry so there are some obvious

want to use has been properly resourced, preferably

issues there, both with the aesthetics as well as

with some form of international certification to that

durability and questions around proper usage of

effect such as that of the FSC equivalent.

our ultimately limited global oil reserves.

Also, any bamboo from anywhere outside of

So neither option, on the face of it, is likely to

where you live or where it is being laid as flooring

be 'green' in a meaningful way, though both can

will have carbon miles (or kilometres) attached to it.

and ought to be recycled if they are being lifted for

The more 'carbon kms', the less 'green' the product

any reason.

is, overall. That cost has to be weighed against the

Concrete is another option and while it can be

costs of, say, hardwood flooring, which will also

coloured and, if used smartly, can enhance one's

likely have many carbon kms attached as well as the

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considerations of sustainable harvesting raised earlier. Beyond these issues, though, bamboo is certainly one of the greenest and best materials around today, especially for floors. They are quick to lay, come in many varieties, shades and hues and are, on the whole, simply beautiful while being light on your conscience.

Recycled rubber

Another greener choice is recycled rubber flooring. Rubber for flooring isn't necessarily an obvious choice – maybe for the little kiddies' playroom but hardly the first thought when it comes to, say, an office floor. But that viewpoint may be out-dated and not taking into account what has happened on the rubber materials front. Also, recycled anything is already a positive for the end user as far as 'green' materials are concerned. Rubber is obviously a natural and renewable material, but care must also be taken to ensure that first use comes from sustainable resources – not recently pristine jungle cleared for rubber plantations, for example. But once used and recycled, it already has a vastly greener profile. One local manufacturer of recycled rubber flooring is Envirobuild, KwaZulu-Natal's first manufacturer of eco-friendly rubber flooring for commercial, industrial and residential use. This company has an extensive range of rubber paving tiles and bricks made from recycled truck tyres. But their floors, once laid, do not look like bits of truck tyres all stuck together – anything but. A joint venture between entrepreneur Jaco Snyman, carpeting and flooring giant Van Dyck and Hammarsdale-based Mathe Group, Envirobuild produces a high-quality product that is suitable for both the local market and export. Snyman, managing director of Envirobuild, says that the products, which include 93% recycled materials, are a perfect fit with increasing demand for greener flooring options. Internationally, architects, interior designers and the construction industry are under pressure to meet their clients' sustainable building requirements in order to ensure green building certifications. 'There is very little high quality flooring of this nature produced locally (in South Africa) so there is definitely a market for it. We are the first company to produce eco-friendly rubber flooring in KwaZulu-Natal and one of very few in South Africa,' he said. A wide variety of flooring products, including rubber paving bricks (200mm x 100mm), Dog Bone paving bricks (200mm x 100mm), rubber paving tiles (500mm x 500mm), a twin brick pattern tile (1000mm x 1000mm) and an interlocking tile (1012mm x 1012mm) will be manufactured Continued on pg 68

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Innovative Recycled Rubber Solutions

Problem: Approximately 160 000 tons of rubber tyres are discarded every year. Currently most of these go into landfill sites or is simply burnt. This results in a very negative impact on the environment.

Solution: EnviroBuild turns this problem into innovative new products for re-use. All EnviroBuild products are 100% recyclable at end of life. This solution has been proven in Canada and America.

INNOVATIVE PRODUCTS FROM RECYCLED RUBBER TYRES Inter-linking I-Mat A large 1012mmx1012mmx 15/20/35mm mat that inter links to create a strong uniform surface for pedestrian and light vehicle traffic. Perfect for driveways, playgrounds, walkways, around shopping centres, hospitals, etc. Advantage: Save on installation time by laying down 0.7m² at a time in an interlinked pattern – save about 80% on labour cost.

1m x 1m Twin-Brick Floor Tile A 1000mm x 1000mm, 20/35 mm thick tile that is durable enough for garages, workshops and gym floors. Decorated with different patterns: Brick pattern, Circular pattern.

Safe&Soft Range for play areas Both the above products come in a reduced density range (in 20mm, 35mm and 50mm) giving a much more forgiving and softer surface for use around jungle gyms, play areas, trampolines, etc. These parts have been specifically developed to adhere to the SANS requirements for playground safety. . • • Tel: 031 913 3800 All EnviroBuild products are manufactured by Van Dyck, a trusted name in interior and exterior flooring since 1948. Van Dyck is a market leader and synonymous with Quality and Style.

Rubber flooring is suitable for a wide range of applications. It absorbs impact and cushions falls, making it ideal for use in play areas, schools and retirement facilities. Together with increased grip, this also makes rubber flooring particularly suitable for use in gyms, dance studios and sporting facilities. It is also ideal for use around swimming pools and wet areas such as saunas and jacuzzis. at Van Dyck's factory. They are available in a variety of thicknesses – from 13mm to 38mm for the paving tiles and from 20mm to 50mm for the bricks – and colours, including black, rust, green and speckled. The main component of Envirobuild flooring is rubber crumb that is sourced from the Mathe Group. Managing director of Van Dyck, Dr Mehran Zarrebini, said the collaboration between the partners was exciting as there were significant synergies. Van Dyck produces rubber-based acoustic cradles and underlays for commercial carpeting and sporting applications while Mathe are a well-established tyre recycler. This particular flooring solution has another upside – getting rid of waste tyres. South Africa is currently dealing with a major environmental challenge as it works to recycle 60 million waste truck tyres that have piled up over the years. An estimated 10 million truck tyres more are added to this existing pile each year. Rubber flooring is suitable for a wide range of applications. It absorbs impact and cushions falls, making it ideal for use in play areas, schools and retirement facilities. Together with increased grip, this also makes rubber flooring particularly suitable for use in gyms, dance studios and sporting facilities. It is also ideal for use around swimming pools and wet areas such as saunas and jacuzzis. Rubber flooring is also suitable for industry and warehousing as it is able to withstand impacts as well as high footfall and the movement of heavy equipment such as hoists and fork lifts. These products are low maintenance and durable and are quick and easy to lay. Because rubber bricks are much lighter than brick or concrete paving and some products come in sheets, they can be laid more quickly and easily with the added bonus of far less breakage, with concurrent costs. In addition, they are easy to lift and replace should repairs to water pipes or under-floor cabling be necessary. Rubber paving is ideal for slopes where there is the risk of moving ground and the need for increased flexibility to mould to the shape of the surface. So when you next have to think about flooring, look at the products mentioned above and maybe think a little outside the traditional box for something more sustainable and ultimately 'greener'.

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to view p r e v i o u s ly magazine click

all our published s online here

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Innovative Products Passionate People Expand Your Future


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A Complete Swimming Pool Maintenance and Repairs Service Offering in Cape Town Here at Pool King we take pride in our work specializing in all types of swimming pool related needs, whether you are looking for a full swimming pool make over or a simple day to day pool maintenance plan. We are sure to offer you the best in all service aspects, pool maintenance, reliable sourced products and cost effective plans to keep your home or company's pool blue and hassle free for the seasons. With our 15 years experience and knowledge, we are able to assist you with all your needs. We are Cape Town’s pool specialists. We offer a wide range of swimming pool services and products to help keep your pool healthy, clean and durable through out the seasons guaranteed.

Natural Swimming Pools, or Eco Pools are the environmentally friendly alternative to conventional swimming pools. Instead of using chemicals or salt, Eco Pools are designed to function as balanced ecosystems. The plants are contained in an aquatic garden which can be constructed next to the pool or displayed as a water feature in another part of the garden and linked to the pool. Maintaining an Eco Pool is really just like maintaining a garden, but needs even less maintenance. Because the filtration process is slow and gentle, Eco Pools use very small pumps and therefore much less electricity than conventional pools.


WaterGuard Waterguard is a unique liquid which spreads over the surface of water to form a very thin film and reduce evaporation. Many people familiar with Aquatain, the first silicone-based liquid for evaporation control, but WaterGuard is a new, improved formulation manufactured by Aquatain Products Pty Ltd which is even more effective and more economical for reducing evaporation from farm dams, reservoirs and pools.

Pool installations | Pool Renovations | Salt Chlorinators | Sand Changes Pumps, filters & Solar installations | Paving | Weekly maintenance | Pump Repairs • 079 578 0180 • • Cape Town

For more information on our monthly service and rates please view our Maintenance Form here.

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O ffice

Vert ical

Ga den

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ar den

The recent trend towards vertical gardening is becoming increasingly widespread as gardeners channel their inspiration to new heights of creativity. No longer limited to the ground underneath our feet, gardens are taking shape in a range of unique directions, from repurposing of old furniture into planters to transforming birdhouses and teapots into thriving miniature garden spaces. Gone are the days of strict garden designs. Today vertical garden ideas are about showcasing the textures, colours and vibrancy of plants in fresh, new ways. More than that, though, they are making enormous headway in the office environment – where floorspace is at a premium – and doing so both indoors and outdoors. We take a look.

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hile not limited to small spaces, vertical gardens are ideally suited to these areas because they offer the

ability to maximise space artfully and efficiently. Creating a vertical garden can be as simple or complex as desired; gardeners are only limited by one's imagination. It is also essential to take growing conditions into account when choosing plant species. With the advent of the office-based vertical garden, with all its eco advantages and human





emergent new businesses which specialise in all aspects of integrating a vertical garden with either the exterior of a building, much enhancing its visual appeal, or its interior, much improving working conditions and productivity. Each office or office building will have its own unique requirements so getting into what to put where in theory is rather less than useful – it takes specialists on the spot to extract the maximum benefit to be derived. For the home vertical gardener, the rules are much simpler – a PVC sheet to act as a barrier and felt carpet padding serving as the medium to keep your plants in place and an excellent material to hold water while resisting rotting. Not so much for the business or office vertical garden where professional inputs really are required – if for no

are putting one up on the outside of a building there

other reason than to avoid water intrusion and a

are obviously going to be some serious technical

range of other technical issues which can arise if

issues and engineering requirements to be resolved.

not done properly.

What is a 'vertical garden' anyway?

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Internal office vertical walls may be slightly less problematic – one is unlikely, for example, to have to deal with the combined weight of plants, water, growing medium and underlying infrastructural

Vertical gardening is nothing more than using vertical

support for all that, from top to bottom storey. More

space to grow vegetables (or herbs, or flowers,

probably, with an internal vertical garden, one may

even root crops – or in the office environment,

be dealing with one to at most three or perhaps four

oxygen-generating visually attractive vertical design

storeys for large indoor atria.

elements). At home, you can hang a container on a

But wherever they are installed, vertical gardens

garden wall, make a few tweaks and away you go; in

have certain virtues which have not been fully

the office that's just a bad idea.

appreciated until recent years, not least being that

Actually, vertical gardens are far from new

they take up less space, are easier to harvest (if

(they may well go back thousands of years to the

one is growing edibles, against which there is no

famous hanging gardens of Babylon) with traditional

good argument even in the office environment), and

gardeners having grown climbing plants like

easier to maintain. However, they do have their own

squashes and beans for centuries, using trellises.


Vertical gardening takes it one step further by

You need sunny wall space – that can come

giving non-climbing plants a space on the wall. But

directly or through sufficiently large apertures

whatever you are growing in a vertical garden, if you

in office buildings.

Vertical gardening is nothing more than using vertical space to grow vegetables, herbs, flowers and even root crops – or in the office environment, oxygen-generating visually attractive vertical design elements. through the feeling of being close to nature. They also absorb some sound and help with noise diffraction, improving the acoustics in any space. Plants photosynthesise and release oxygen into the air, and act as bio-filters for impurities and one constantly drawing down on exhaled and other sources of CO2.

Options Many different options are available to choose from nowadays such as tray systems, panel systems, casette systems, gutter systems, recycled bottle systems and there are even moss systems. That is to name but some in use – literally the options available •

If they are built too high, they can be difficult to

are subject mainly to the limitations of one's

maintain. Don't make them taller than you can

imagination, engineering and water-containment

reach, unless there is provision for safe access

issues having been properly dealt with.

from a stable infrastructure element. • •

Most systems are soil-based, which substantially

The support system must be strong enough to

reduces maintenance compared to the alternative

handle the weight of everything.

hydroponic vertical garden. The reason for this

The supporting wall must be able to withstand

is that the water is stored in the soil for a longer

a lot of moisture. You can use polyethylene

period of time. The soil also ensures longevity of

cloth to create a vapour barrier along the back

the plants, should there be any system failures. But

of the wall behind the plants, but this is not an

there are pros and cons either way in any given set

area for short cuts or 'winging it' – that kind of

of circumstances and so it to the professionals that

approach may end being very costly.

one is advised to look when it comes to external or

Forgiving & flexible The reservations having been made about doing vertical gardens 'right', they are also among the most forgiving and flexible gardening systems, whether with home-grown or a major feature, indoor or out, of a large office structure.

Wellness benefits Plants improve the well-being and mood of people

internal vertical gardens in the office space.

What are the benefits of having 'green walls' in our cities and office complexes? They: •

Reduce urban heat island effect and smog

Clean outside air of pollutants and dust and offset the carbon footprint of people and fuel emissions

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Clean interior air space by removing VOCs and other harmful toxins like benzene and formaldehyde

Act as a sound proofing barrier

Provide naturally filtered water with both soil and plants filtering out contaminants and particulants

Insulate and cool the building envelope, as well as protecting it from the elements

Create habitats for birds and beneficial insects, increasing biodiversity

Can be used for growing food in urban settings, creating sustainable and local control of food sources

Increase real estate value

Increase foot traffic in retail spaces

Speed recovery time for patients in medical contexts through biophilia (the scientifically demonstrated positive effects of plants on human beings)

photosynthesis, trapping particulate matter, and

Help children with ADHD focus better in school

capturing gases. The ability of green walls to

Reduce absenteeism in the workplace and

provide thermal insulation for buildings means less

boost employee morale

demand on power, and as a result fewer polluting by-products are released into the air.

Aesthetic improvements Beyond the above listed positives one may add

Local job creation

that 'green' walls can reclaim disregarded space by

Green walls draw upon several disciplines for

providing aesthetic stimulation where it would not

their design, installation and maintenance – such

otherwise be found. They can also serve to create


privacy and a sense of enclosure while limiting

consultants, and more. They stimulate demand for

the negative psychological effects associated with

a local supply of plant materials, blended growing

'property' or space demarcation, especially in the

media, greenhouse production, and fabrication of

office context where space optimisation gives each

structural frames creates further business activity.

person a limited 'personal space' experience.








Improved energy efficiency

Reduction of the urban heat island effect The


Green walls can reduce the temperature fluctuations at a wall's surface from a range of 10-60ºC to one urban

of 5-30ºC, in turn limiting the movement of heat

environments promotes the occurrence of natural

between building walls (Minke 1982). They cause

cooling processes, such as photosynthesis and

this reduction by:

evapotranspiration. With strategic placement of

Trapping a layer of air within the plant mass.

green walls, plants can create enough turbulence to


break vertical airflow, which slows and cools down the air (Peck et al. 1999).




evapo-transpiration and shading. •

Creating a buffer against wind during winter months.

Improved exterior air quality

temperature around intake valves, which means

Green walls mitigate air pollution levels by

HVAC units will require less energy to cool air before

lowering extreme summer temperatures through

being circulated around a building.

Green walls can also help lower the air

Continued on pg 92

S G 76

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77 S G

Buildings that feature and promote access to vegetation have been documented as having a greater positive human health impact than those without

Green walls are an easily identifiable symbol of the green building movement since they are visible and directly impact the amount of green space in urban centres.

Design-specific benefits Increased biodiversity is the first and most obvious

Building structure protection

of biodiversity due to the effects of urbanisation, help sustain a variety of plants, pollinators and

Temperature fluctuations over a building's lifetime

invertebrates, and provide habitat and nesting

can be damaging to organic construction materials in

places for various bird species.

building faรงades. Green walls provide an additional fluctuations. Green walls protect exterior finishes

Improved health & wellbeing

and masonry from UV radiation and rain. They can

Buildings that feature and promote access to

also increase the seal or air tightness of doors,

vegetation have been documented as having a

windows, and cladding by decreasing the effect of

greater positive human health impact than those

wind pressure (Peck et al. 1999).

without (Honeyman 1987). Studies have shown that

layer of exterior insulation and thereby limit thermal

Improved indoor air quality

visual access to natural settings leads to increased job satisfaction and productivity (Kaplan 2001) and

Most urbanised people spend 80-90% of their time

post-operative recovery rates in medical facilities

indoors (Jenkins et al. 1992) and as a result are

(Ulrich 1983).

highly influenced by the effectiveness of interior air circulation systems. It has been estimated that

Urban agriculture

problems associated with poor indoor air quality

Green walls offer the opportunity for urban

negatively affect workplace production by $60b per

agriculture, such as vertical gardens of small fruits,

year in the United States alone (Reitze 1998).

vegetables, and herbs. Imagine the effect on your

Air that has been circulated throughout a

staff if they are free to pick some juicy or fresh

building with a strategically placed green wall (such

veggie, right off the plant or via some in-house

as near an air intake valve) will be cleaner than


that on an uncovered building. The presence of vegetation indoors will have the same effect. These processes remove airborne pollutants

Onsite wastewater treatment

such as toluene, ethyl benzene, xylene, and other

Several water-recycling systems can be applied

volatile organic compounds.

to green walls. These systems pump grey water

Noise reduction

through a green wall, which then passes through filters, gravel, and marine plants. Treated water

The vegetated surface provided by strategic urban

is then sent to a grey water holding tank for

greenery such as green walls and roofs will block

household or irrigation use or released into the

high frequency sounds, and when constructed

public water treatment system (Shirley-Smith 2006).

with a substrate or growing medium support can

Some systems also collect storm-water, which is

also block low-frequency noises. For over 30 years

filtered for subsequent use such as irrigation

plant life has been used to this end along freeways,


arterials, and rail lines in North America and Europe.

Marketing potential

S G 78

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With all the positives going for green living walls, don't be surprised to see our cities and urban centres over the next several years literally begin

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E co H ealth

South Africans are being 'systematically poisoned' & mass human rights violations alleged

S G 80


Following a complaint by several parties and interest groups, the SA Human Rights Commission, a Chapter 9 Constitutional institution similar to the Public Protector, has undertaken to conduct a national consultative process involving all role-players, stakeholders and interested parties in the commercial production of genetically modified foods (GMOs) and the use with them of glyphosate, the herbicide which GMOs are designed to be immune to but which the World Health Organisation (WHO) has described as a 'probabe human carcinogen'. The implications for agro-industry where GMOs play a major role are far-reaching, not just in South African terms, but globally. This is the first case in the world where the extremely wealthy and powerful GM industry is being taken on for alleged human rights abuses which, according to one complainant that has approached the HRC on these issues, go so far as constituting 'possible crimes against humanity'. What follows is the definitive state of play with regards to a situation in which almost literally every single person in South Africa is unknowingly building up toxic levels of glyphosate – along with other possible health and eco-implications that go with the cultivation of GMOs – without the great majority of citizens even being aware of the likely health risks at stake.

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re South Africans being systematically poisoned?' you may ask in response to the headline of this article. Simply

Green is in a position to posit an equally alarming answer: 'Yes, they almost certainly are.' Worse than that, the situation which has been allowed to develop, initially by officials in the Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries (DAFF), with

secondary 'support' from watchdog and health oversight officials in the Department of Health (DoH), is all being done with the nod of approval from the government. On the face of it, the relevant officials have, probably through dint of failure to properly oversee the GMO industry in SA, put themselves in the crosshairs of allegations that they bear personal and collective responsibility for letting South Africans eat and be exposed, even in their drinking water, to glyphosate well over a year after the WHO 'blew the whistle' on this extensively used weed killer. The GMO story in South Africa is complex because even the scientists involved in the development and commercial application of this technology in food crop cultivation do not know the full extent of what their products are doing to human health. Of






government officials are and have been saying that there are no negative health effects due to the widespread consumption of GMO products or use of glyphosate (sold commercially as Roundup), the main herbicide used to kill off competing plants in GMO cultivation fields.

But that is the word of vested interests – something a court case involving the DAFF over a decade ago, regarding the release of GMOs into commercial production in South Africa, has already ruled on. Which is to say, the industry was shown through court action to be lying to, or deliberately misleading, the agriculture department's officials about any possible negative eco and health effects on wildlife (and, by extension, humans) of growing GMO crops while using glyphosate. Read here for

more on the historic Constitutional Court case which resulted in a victory for eco watchdog NGO Biowatch after a decade-long battle with the GM industry and the SA government. You can read here more on Biowatch's ongoing concerns about the use of GMOs (and glyphosate) in South Africa food production.

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Not a 'claim' The statements above do not constitute a 'claim'. They represent history and are factual. The upshot is that DAFF officials have already been shown to either not be paying attention or perhaps not caring that they were lied to by an industry which has billions of dollars at stake in having South Africa breaking away from most other African states (along with over three dozen other nations) in allowing GMOs to be grown 'in the wild'.

While some see GMOs as the 'way of the future' for agriculture, others are far less convinced. Industry claims of significant drought resistance in its white maize variants, for example, have been shown by the latest Southern African drought to be vastly exaggerated, if not utterly false – most of the GMO white maize (which constitutes the great majority of white maize grown in SA) planted in the last growing season did not survive the drought any better than other forms of maize. Indeed, most of the crop perished or was severely affected. Industry claims of sustained higher yields have also not panned out as claimed – in fact, after about 12-15 years of cultivation, most GMO crop yields drop significantly. The essence of the issue to be looked into by the HRC centres on the likely or prima facie human rights violations inherent in GMO crops being used as the country's basic staple (white maize), among other essential foods, along with the violations implicit in the use of the 'probable human carcinogen' herbicide glyphosate with those GMOs. The rationale for this argument is that almost every South African is unwittingly being exposed to glyphosate on a daily basis, albeit in trace amounts but which accumulate over time. The vast body of independent evidence put before the Human Rights Commission by concerned parties pointed overwhelmingly towards a conclusion that this genetic technology is inherently unsafe for the environment and for human and animal health.

GMO problems Indeed the core problem with GMOs, as a whole, is that there really is insufficient evidence to be able to say that they may be grown (with accompany chemicals like glyphosate used alongside them) without negative impacts to either the general ecology and specifically to human consumers of such GMO crops, or foods in which GMOs are

EXCLUSIVE included. Against the background of the absence (or ignoring by official) of the possible dangers associated with the widespread cultivation of GMOs and accompanying use of glyphosate, there is a growing body of independently arrived at evidence from non-industry paid researchers and organisation showing that glyphosate, in particular, and GMOs as a whole are posing much more serious ecological and health risks than were previously supposed (see accompany article on pg 85: Judge warns Monsanto for hiding info in 55 cancer lawsuits). Given the above, and the WHO ruling on glyphosate's probable cancer risks, the Inkatha Freedom Party, together with some concerned citizen groups, late last year approached the SAHRC with a large volume of independent (non-industry funded) research showing that glyphosate is a particular problem and may well be affecting everyone who eats it, even in trace amounts on GM (and other) crops. The impacts seem to be very profound, including at the DNA level, causing, in all probability, endocrine disruptions, immune system disruptions and quite possibly non-Hodgkins lymphoma (an aggressive form of cancer), in which glyphosate has been specifically implicated in some (independent) studies, plus quite possibly other cancers or pre-cancerous conditions. The SAHRC has responded by saying that it is to embark on a national consultative programme to hear all parties and to attempt to get to the bottom of what seems to be an outright contradiction between what the GM industry lobbyists and interest groups say versus

what a growing number of independent researchers have to say on the whole issue of GMOs and on glyphosate in particular. In this regard, South Africa is being closely watched globally as a case study where, for the first time, the GM industry is being taken on for failing to come clean on, or admit the relevance of, evidence from independent researchers, showing that GMOs in general may indeed be having some negative health impacts on consumers of GM products and that glyphosate in particular is a serious

health threat. The reason we at Simply Green have emphasised in each case that it is upon non-industry, independent studies that we – and hopefully the SAHRC – must rely in order to have as unbiased assessment of the risks of GMOs and glyphosate is that industry-paid research has

been specifically set up to not show any such effects. It was demonstrated to the HRC Commissioners in the

While some see GMOs as the 'way of the future' for agriculture, others are far less convinced. Industry claims of significant drought resistance in its white maize variants, for example, have been shown by the latest Southern African drought to be vastly exaggerated, if not utterly false – most of the GMO white maize (which constitutes the great majority of white maize grown in SA) planted in the last growing season did not survive the drought any better than other forms of maize. Indeed, most of the crop perished or was severely affected. Industry claims of sustained higher yields have also not panned out as claimed – in fact, after about 12-15 years of cultivation, most GMO crop yields drop significantly.

complaints and supporting data that food safety studies

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on lab rats, for example, are run for just 90 days as an industry standard. When one industry-paid researcher decided

of independent research studies supporting the

to continue feeding his lab rats with GMOs grown

contentions that the eco- and food-safety of GMOs

according to industry standards, he found that

remained unproven, or which showed significant

after two years female lab rat fatalities were

human health threats. The Commissioners were

far beyond expected levels (70% as opposed

also given independent research that showed

to 20%) with many cancers recorded and with

through a growing body of studies what the

male rats in the that study showing a range of

specific and emergent dangers of glyphosate were

highly detrimental developments, including major

to human populations exposed to this herbicide.

endocrine disruptions and other serious diseases.

SA High Rights Commission's undertaking

Under assessment That material is now being assessed by the HRC whose Commissioners said they would call in expertise from non-industry and non-government

The SAHRC Commissioners who recently met with

sources to further assess the state of play with

the IFP and other concerned bodies on this matter

regard to knowledge about the dangerous of both

specifically asked the complainants if they would

the widespread use of glyphosate in agro-industry

accept a recommendation from the Commission

(not only in the growing of GMO crops) as well as

that it formally 'closed' the complaint process

fully exploring all the issues, from food safety to

initiated by the IFP letter, in conjunction with those

economic implications, of growing of the national

of other concerned parties, and instead pursue the

food staple and other crops using GMOs.

consultative process.

It was pointed out to the HRC that, by its own

The latter, said the Commissioners, was almost

admission to Africa Check, the Department of

certain to be 'quicker', being less likely to be

Health's unit looking into food safety had not

slowed by administrative and legal technicalities

even once checked since '2012/13' for glyphosate

which can been invoked in an adversarial approach

residues in the food that South Africans in their

involving the issuing of subpoenas and other legal

tens of millions eat daily.

documents to concerned parties, including both

The bottom line was, the Commissioners were

the DAFF and the DoH officials, along with major

told, that no one knows how much glyphosate

industry players like Monsanto.

South Africans are being exposed to daily and our

The IFP, together with the other parties,

agricultural and health authorities appear to be

agreed with the SAHRC approach, which, the two

taking industry claims of safety at face value while

Commissioners present assured those present,

no local officials are even looking into the issue,

did not necessarily rule out a parallel adversarial

despite the fact that the IARC said glyphosate was

approach if some parties proved recalcitrant in

a 'probable human carcinogen' more than a year

coming forward with information or which refused


to engaged in the consultative approach.

The situation is made all the more serious by

In the original IFP complaint the HRC was told

recent findings, also provided to the HRC, that

that allowing GMOs to be used to grow SA's base

glyphosate accumulates both up the food chain

staple crop of white maize, along with other key

in higher order organisms like people, and the

foods such as soya, and in combination with the

animals which people eat, and that even in trace

widespread use of glyphosate, meant that South

amounts (measured in nanograms) glyphosate

Africa's agricultural and health authorities were

was showing up as a cause of disease, putting

either knowingly or unknowingly allowing 'gross

the DoH's 'safe' exposure levels far above – by

human rights violations' which might border on

some hundreds of thousands of times – known

'crimes against humanity' since, in effect, every

levels of glyphosate exposure associated with

single South African was exposed at some level to

human disease and particularly cancerous and

glyphosate and to GMO food.

pre-cancerous conditions.

ď ™

S G 84

The HRC Commissioners were provided a large volume of supporting data, mostly the results


ACB throws down the gauntlet on new GMO maize In a campaign addressed to the Chairperson,

a 2014 academic study found that workers spraying

Executive Council GMO Act, Ms Nompumelelo

glyphosate formulations (such as Monsantos RoundUp

Mkhonza, the African Centre for Biodiversity (ACB)

herbicide) had an increased risk of Non-Hodgkin

has called on the SA government to say 'no' to

Lymphoma, a type of cancer.

Monsanto's 'bogus drought tolerant GMO maize and

'We are deeply troubled by the continuous

toxic glyphosate'.

introduction of risky GMOs into our food and farming

In their call to action by all South Africans concerned

systems. Since its introduction into our food system

with the issue of GMOs and the release of yet another

in 1998, it has done nothing to address our nation's

previously unseen novel gene combination in our

hunger problems. Instead, we are left with polluted soil

primary staple crop, white maize, the ACB says:

and water and loss of our superior, local farmer-bred

'We all love mealies and the many other food

varieties of maize.

products that we get from maize seeds. But Monsanto,

'We are also extremely concerned about the political

a multi-national seed and chemical company, is busy

economy of seed control that Monsanto has imposed

colonising Mzansi's food system. Monsanto genetically

on our seed system, which utterly undermines our food

engineers the DNA of different plants, and sells their

sovereignty and breeds a dependency on Monsanto's

products to farmers promising a better harvest. But

industrial systems and technologies.

wherever Monsanto does business communities health

'Local land belonging to smallholder farmers in SA

and the environment are at risk. In order to make

have already been contaminated. More GMOs will only

even more money, they are trying to push through

exacerbate this situation and further erode farmers'

their so-called "drought tolerant maize" seed to be

seed systems. We call on our government to reject

commercially available to our farmers.

Monsanto's application and begin a real dialogue

'Monsanto is using the drought and our rising

with South Africans to transition out of industrial and

food prices as a means of inserting its bogus drought

GM-based agriculture systems and work towards

tolerant technology and maize into the South African

real climate resilient solutions that are ecologically

food systems. We strongly challenge claims of drought

sustainable, socially just and takes care of the nutritional

tolerance as a Trojan horse and yet another risky and

needs of all South Africans.'

novel gene introduced into our staple food. 'We demand a ban on the use of glyphosate which Monsanto sells with this product to our farmers and remind the Executive Council that the WHO International Association for Research into Cancer (IARC) categorised glyphosate as a class 2A carcinogen in May 2015 and

1   Schinasi L, Leon ME (Apr 2014). 'Non-Hodgkin lymphoma and occupational exposure to agricultural pesticide chemical groups and active ingredients: a systematic review and meta-analysis.' International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health. 11 (4): 4449-527

85 S G

ď ™

Political ramifications There are also far-reaching political ramifications to the HRC investigation, aside from the specific request or demand put to the HRC that officials found to have been negligent, or worse, as a result of its investigation, should be charged with dereliction of duty and failure to protect SA citizens' human rights, and thereby removed for all time from occupying any government position at all. Should the HRC confirm what other leading agencies like the IARC are saying about glyphosate (and possibly also about GMOs being 'tested in the wild in one of largest human trials the world has ever seen' through the DAFF's allowing white maize, soy and other basic food crops to be grown using GMOs, as one group of concerned parties put it) South Africa will have moved the issue from a debate largely between and pro- and anti-GM groupings into the mainstream arena of an issue of concern affecting not only South Africans, but also GMO- and glyphosate-exposed populations around

the world. A negative finding towards GMOs as a whole, and glyphosate in specific, with regards to their use being a violation of human rights will inevitably result in a flurry of court actions. It will also elevate these issues within the WHO to the level where that body may be forced

in due course to come to its own determination about whether the use of GMOs for food crops is, in principle, a violation of the human rights of unknowing consumers of these genetically altered foodstuffs, and whether the use of glyphosate in any circumstances related to agriculture is intrinsically a violation of basic human rights. We have, at Simply Green, previously reported on GMOs and their health risks, incurring in the process

the GM lobbyists' ire. We do not have to re-iterate those prior reports here, but we assert that glyphosate and GMOs have been shown to be far from 'harmless' to humans and eco-system as whole, as the GM industry has previously and continues to insist. For those interesting in seeing how the GM industry has used various means to influence decision-making around their products, readers can inform themselves on a parallel set of issues, with profound political undertones of a sinister nature, here.

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EXCLUSIVE ‘Half of all children will be autistic by 2025,’ warns senior research scientist at MIT What is making a growing number of children in the

to pesticides and autism, a rapidly growing condition in

USA (and South Africa) autistic? Many culprits have

Westernised societies and linked to other drivers such as

been blamed but a growing body of evidence points to

phthalate chemicals, secondary cigarette smoke or smoking

glyphosate toxicity from exposure to Monsanto's Roundup

by pregnant women.

herbicide on our food.

Recently, the US Department of Agriculture released a

For over three decades, Stephanie Seneff, PhD, has

study finding that although there were detectable levels of

researched biology and technology, over the years publishing

pesticide residue in more than half of food tested by the

over 170 scholarly peer-reviewed articles. In recent years

agency, 99% of samples taken were found to be within levels

she has concentrated on the relationship between nutrition

the government deems 'safe', and 40% were found to have

and health, tackling such topics as Alzheimer's, autism, and

no detectable trace of pesticides at all. The USDA added,

cardiovascular diseases, as well as the impact of nutritional

however, that due to 'cost concerns', it did not test for residues

deficiencies and environmental toxins on human health.

of glyphosate.

At a recent conference, in a special panel discussion

Monsanto claims that Roundup is harmless to humans.

about GMOs, she took the audience by surprise when she

Bacteria, fungi, algae, parasites, and plants use a seven-step

declared, 'At today's rate, by 2025, one in two children will

metabolic route known as the shikimate pathway for the

be autistic.' She noted that the side-effects of autism closely

biosynthesis of aromatic amino acids; glyphosate inhibits

mimic those of glyphosate toxicity, and presented data

this pathway, causing the plant to die, which is why it is so

showing a remarkably consistent correlation between the use

effective as a herbicide. Monsanto says humans don't have

of Roundup on crops (and the creation of Roundup-ready

this shikimate pathway, so it's 'perfectly safe'.

GMO crop seeds) with rising rates of autism. Children with

Dr Seneff points out, however, that our gut bacteria do have

autism have biomarkers indicative of excessive glyphosate,

this pathway, and that's crucial because these bacteria supply

including zinc and iron deficiency, low serum sulfate, seizures,

our body with vital amino acids. Roundup thus kills beneficial

and mitochondrial disorder.

gut bacteria necessary for good health and a functional

A fellow panelist reported that after Dr Seneff's presentation,

immune system, allowing pathogens to grow; it also interferes

'All of the 70 or so people in attendance were squirming, likely

with the synthesis of amino acids including methionine, which

because they now had serious misgivings about serving their

leads to shortages in critical neurotransmitters and folate;

kids, or themselves, anything with corn or soy, which are

chelates (removes) important minerals like iron, cobalt and

nearly all genetically modified and thus tainted with Roundup

manganese; and much more besides.

and its (herbicide) glyphosate.'

Even worse, she notes, additional chemicals in Roundup

Dr Seneff noted the widespread use of glyphosate's use,

are untested because they're classified as 'inert', yet according

even with non-GM crops. Because it is used on corn and soy,

to a 2014 study in BioMed Research International, these

all soft drinks and candies sweetened with corn syrup and all

chemicals are capable of amplifying the toxic effects of

chips and cereals that contain soy fillers have small amounts

Roundup 'hundreds of times over'.

of glyphosate in them, as do our beef and poultry since cattle

Glyphosate is present in unusually high quantities in the

and chicken are fed GMO corn or soy. Wheat is often sprayed

breast milk of American mothers, at anywhere from 760 to

with Roundup just prior to being harvested, which means

1 600 times the allowable limits in European drinking water.

that all non-organic bread and wheat products would also

Urine testing shows Americans have 10 times the glyphosate

be sources of glyphosate toxicity. The amount of glyphosate

accumulation as Europeans. Glyphosate has also been found

in each product may not be large, but the cumulative effect

in human placentas and umbilical cords.

(especially with as much processed food as Americans eat)

'In my view, the situation is almost beyond repair,' Dr Seneff

could be devastating. A recent study shows that pregnant

said after her presentation. 'We need to do something drastic.'

women living near farms where pesticides are applied have

Read the full article here.

a 60% increased risk of children having an autism spectrum disorder. Other toxic substances may also be autism-inducing. Studies now show a link between children's exposure

Resources Alliance For Natural Health

87 S G

Judge warns Monsanto for hiding info in 55 cancer lawsuits S G 88

EXCLUSIVE It has been well established that agro-industry food giant and leading GMO producer Monsanto has been trying to hide the detrimental risks their leading herbicide, Roundup, poses to human health and the environment. Over the years, numerous studies have been published proving that the active ingredient in Roundup, glyphosate, can cause cancer, miscarriages, Parkinson's disease, Alzheimer's, and more.







evidence in support of the harmful effects of





virtually monopolise the entire North American seed industry without government intervention. Roundup can be found in almost any non-organic food, on golf courses, and in soil, despite the fact that it is a known carcinogen (in lab rats) and has been cited by a World Health Organization health and cancer watchdog body as a 'probable human carcinogen'. However, thanks to a federal court judge in California, Monsanto may finally have to face the music for its alleged wrongdoings and secrecy, shedding light on the truth about Roundup and the company's ties to the US government. On February 27, 2017, Judge Vince Chhabria declared to Monsanto that, despite the company's objections, numerous documents will not be kept sealed and will be turned over to be used against the company. Judge Chhabria is currently overseeing over 55 lawsuits against Monsanto in the US District Court for the Northern District of California. He even threatened Monsanto that if the company continues to pursue extensive efforts to keep important documents out of the hands of the public, he would impose sanctions. The court cases were filed as a result of numerous claims that Monsanto's Roundup caused non-Hodgkin lymphoma, a type of cancer that originates in the lymphatic system and could potentially be – some scientists say is likely to be – caused by Roundup. These specific lawsuits are being handled together as 'multi-district litigation' (MDL) in San Francisco, although there are many more claims from people all over the US who developed the same type of cancer, apparently after being exposed to the herbicide. 'I have a problem with Monsanto, because it is insisting that stuff be filed under seal that should

89 S G

not be filed under seal,' Judge Chhabria explained in the hearing. When documents are 'relevant to the litigation, they shouldn't be under seal, even if they are embarrassing to Monsanto (and) even if Monsanto doesn't like what they say'. You can read the full court transcript here. Another questionable subject that was brought up in the hearing is the fact that the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) maintains that glyphosate is 'likely not a carcinogen', in direct contradiction of a finding by the relevant World Health Organization's (WHO) cancer watchdog body. Why, it is being asked

to reclassify glyphosate from a 'possible human

in US eco-friendly circles, would the US government

carcinogen' to a 'probable' cancer-causing agent,

knowingly support a false claim, as it has been

but clearly Rowland ignored this expert's opinion

proven that glyphosate can cause cancer in rats and


is the likely cause of non-Hodgkins lymphoma in




cancer-glyphosate relationship is strange, as even

some concern during the hearing as to whether or

the International Agency for Research on Cancer

not those involved in the trial would even believe

(IARC) classified glyphosate as a probable human

experts who explain the science behind glyphosate

carcinogen in late 2015. Numerous studies have

being 'probably carcinogenic'.

proven the cancer-glyphosate link (examples 1,

The EPA has, on numerous occasions in the past, apparently colluded with oil companies as well as Monsanto, all of which threaten the environment,

2, 3), but despite the overwhelming amount of evidence, it is still being debated in US courts. Meanwhile,





which the EPA claims and is empowered to protect.

recently ruled against Monsanto in a case that

However, this case is expected to blow the lid off

aimed to enforce mandatory cancer warnings on

Monsanto's close ties to EPA higher-ups, including

Roundup labels. Judge Kristi Kapetan finalised her

Jess Rowland, head of the EPA's Cancer Assessment

ruling confirming that California will now classify



glyphosate as a chemical 'known to the state to

committee was 'accidentally' leaked to the public at

cause cancer', in accordance with the Safe Drinking

a time that was favourable to Monsanto, given its

Water and Toxic Enforcement Act of 1986, otherwise

latest lawsuits.

known as Proposition 65.






According to court filings by plaintiffs' attorneys, discovery documents 'strongly suggests that Mr

Recent history

Rowland's primary goal was to serve the interests

In January 2016, Monsanto filed a lawsuit against

of Monsanto'. Rowland has yet to publicly address

the State of California Environmental Protection

these allegations. He has since left the agency and

Agency's Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment (OEHHA) over the agency's notice of


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humans? As a result of the EPA's stance, there was

Plaintiffs state that the litigation has revealed

intent to list glyphosate as a Prop 65 chemical. After

documents proving that Rowland was 'straining, and

a long battle, the company finally lost and will be

often breaking, ethics and rules to benefit Monsanto's

forced to put cancer warning labels on their most


popular herbicide, Roundup, in California.




exposed that the company pushed this report to be

This will likely bode well for the anti-glyphosate

published immediately in order to 'pre-empt other

cases in California, but since many of the claims

potential actions or inquiries about the dangers of

were made outside of the state where the same laws

glyphosate,' according to a court filing.

don't apply, it may have less of an impact around the

Further proof lies in the form of a letter from a

rest of the USA – or in South Africa where our local

former EPA scientist to Rowland stating that there

authorities seem, when it suits them, to slavishly

were significant scientific grounds for the EPA

follow US government agency determinations on

EXCLUSIVE According to court filings by plaintiffs' attorneys, discovery documents 'strongly suggests that Mr Rowland's primary goal was to serve the interests of Monsanto'. Rowland has yet to publicly address these allegations. He has since left the agency and retired.

constitute, respectively, the active principles of three major herbicides, three insecticides, and three fungicides. Despite its relatively benign reputation, Roundup was among the most toxic herbicides and insecticides tested. Most importantly, eight formulations out of nine were up to one thousand times more toxic than their active principles. Our results challenge the relevance of the acceptable daily intake for pesticides because this norm is calculated from the toxicity of the active principle alone. Chronic tests on pesticides may not reflect

food safety, labelling and related issues, especially

relevant environmental exposures if only one

when it comes to GMOs and glyphosate.

ingredient of these mixtures is tested alone.'2

Rowland and some of the higher-ups at Monsanto

Dr Stephanie Seneff, a research scientist at the

are to make depositions later in March 2017. A key

Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), revealed

hearing is set for October 2017, at which time

an even more disturbing truth: Glyphosate is possibly

expert witness testimonies are expected to be

'the most important factor in the development of

presented to the judge and then trial dates will

multiple chronic diseases and conditions that have

likely begin in early 2018 (source).

become prevalent in Westernised societies.' Another

Just how toxic is Roundup for you?

study suggested that glyphosate can cause celiac disease, non-Hodgkin's lymphoma, kidney failure, miscarriages, infertility, birth defects, obesity,

Numerous countries have banned the use of

autism, depression, Alzheimer's, Parkinson's, and

Monsanto's Roundup, including Russia, Sri Lanka,


and much of Europe. In all there are at least 38

'It is commonly believed that Roundup is among

countries worldwide which have banned the use of

the safest pesticides. Despite its reputation, Roundup

and the importation of Roundup.

was by far the most toxic among the herbicides and

Russian Deputy Prime Minister Arkady Dvorkovich

insecticides tested. This inconsistency between

announced that Russia had 'made the decision not

scientific fact and industrial claim may be attributed

to use any GMO in food production'. This is due to

to huge economic interests, which have been

safety concerns surrounding GMOs and toxicity of

found to falsify health risk assessments and delay

the active ingredient in Roundup, glyphosate (read

health policy decisions.' – R Mesnage et al, Biomed

more about that here).

Research International, Volume 2014 (2014) article

However, in reality, there's much more to the

ID 179691.

herbicide to be concerned about. A study, published

It's not really a surprise that Monsanto refuses

in the journal Biomedical Research International,

to admit the health risks associated with GMOs

showed that Roundup is 125 times more toxic than

and Roundup, as the company makes billions of

its active ingredient glyphosate studied in isolation.1

dollars every year from its increasing control of the

The eye-opening abstract reads as follows:

global seed industry – the company has previously

'Pesticides are used throughout the world

openly declared its aim of controlling the world's

as mixtures called formulations. They contain

staple food seed stocks. As a result, it's difficult

adjuvants, which are often kept confidential and

for consumers to even know when they're eating

are called "inerts" by the manufacturing companies,

GMOs or other products doused in Roundup because

plus a declared active principle, which is usually

there's a lack of transparency. This is as true in

tested alone. We tested the toxicity of 9 pesticides,

South Africa as in the USA, where Monsanto has

comparing active principles and their formulations,

been shown to enjoy the protection of government

on three human cell lines. Glyphosate, isoproturon,

watchdog bodies like the EPA.


fluroxypyr, pirimicarb, imidacloprid, acetamiprid, tebuconazole,





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C onscious H ome

Keep your home poisoning yourse

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e clean without elf and the earth When we buy cleaning products as a consumer, we expect them to clean. We want our homes sparkling clean and smelling 'fresh' by using scents, soaps, detergents, bleaching agents, softeners, scourers, polishes, and specialised cleaners for bathrooms, kitchen, drains, and ovens. However, while the chemicals in commercial cleaner's foam, bleach and disinfect to make our home and drains germ-free, it has been proven that many also contribute to indoor air pollution, are poisonous if ingested and can be harmful if inhaled or touched. Liesel James reports.

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ammonia-based surfactants, solvents and a myriad of other nasty chemicals can make

up 90% of the volume of a typical store-bought cleaning solution, says green living expert Beth Greer, author of Super Natural Home. The impact continues after the bubbly cleaning liquids disappear down our drains to municipal waste water treatment plants where they are treated along with sewage and other waste water and then discharged into nearby waterways. Some chemical cleaners break down into harmless substances during treatment, others however do not, threatening water quality or fish and other wildlife. Some disinfecting agents can negatively affect the biological processes in sewage treatment plants and natural waters. This is such a vast topic with such potential significance for the environment, society and with economic implications, but for the purpose of this article I would like to focus on the human health issues. Ingredients in cleaning products with high acute toxicity include chlorine bleach and ammonia, which can cause respiratory and skin irritation and should not be used by people with asthma or lung or heart problems. Also they will create toxic fumes if accidentally mixed together.

Have you ever wondered why air fresheners and cistern blocks make you nauseous, give you headaches, sneezing or other respiratory uncomfortability, especially in public areas? The National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health in the USA has found that one-third of the substances used in the fragrance industry are toxic. As they are considered trade secrets, companies aren't required to list their ingredients but merely label them as containing 'fragrance'.

Have you ever wondered why air fresheners and cistern blocks make you nauseous, give

This was after a study was done in 2003

you headaches, sneezing or other respiratory

whereby 2  517 urine samples were analysed

uncomfortability, especially in public areas? The

and 74.6% had traces of triclosan, a synthetic

National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health

chemical with broad antimicrobial activity that

in the USA has found that one-third of the substances

has been used extensively in consumer products,

used in the fragrance industry are toxic. As they are

including personal care products, textiles, and

considered trade secrets, companies aren't required

plastic kitchenware. Specifically, the concentrations

to list their ingredients but merely label them as

of triclosan appeared to be highest during the third

containing 'fragrance'.

decade of life and among people with the highest

Other ingredients in cleaners may have low

It has been suggested that using too many

effects, such as cancer, hormone disruption and

antibacterial products can actually promote the

immune disorders. The alkylphenol ethoxylates

spread of bigger, 'worse' bacteria and lead to

(APEs) used in some detergents and cleaners have

life-threatening infections, that cannot be treated.

been shown to mimic the hormone estrogen. It has

More details about this study can be found here.

been tested in a test tube study, which has caused estrogen-sensitive breast cancer cells to multiply.

Sadly, in South Africa the ingredient declaration on Material Safety Data Sheets (MSDS's) is so poor,

The FDA has banned anti-bacterial ingredients

that you cannot really tell the product make up.

in commercial products due to the evidence of

Unlike cosmetics, there is no regulatory requirement

their contribution to the development of immune

on detergents to state the ingredients.

disorders and cancer.

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household incomes.

acute toxicity but contribute to long-term health

The most toxic household commercial cleaners

are drain, oven and toilet cleaners. The solution?

can burn skin and eyes, are ingredients in many

Make your own or buy the right product.

oven cleaners. Aerosol spray oven cleaners are

We recommend that you not use the recipes that

easily inhaled into lung tissue.

include borax, as it is not a safer alternative since it may pose health risks, too. Borax is a (powdery,


white) mineral that also goes by a few other names:

Put a heatproof dish filled with water in the oven. Turn on the heat to let the steam soften any baked-on grease. Once the oven is cool, apply a paste of equal parts salt, bicarb of soda, and vinegar, and scrub (from Super Natural Home by Beth Greer).

sodium borate, sodium tetraborate, or disodium tetraborate. A close cousin of borax is boric acid. It is not the 'greener' or 'natural' ingredient we were made to believe. Borax is a pesticide that poisons insects, fungus and weeds, but it also has plenty of other uses that we encounter in consumer products, like school slime. It does not qualify for the Green

Bathroom & Toilet Cleaners

Tag Certification and it will not be present in

Some toilet cleaners contain sulfates and hydrochloric

certified eco products.

acid, and are extremely toxic, posing alarming risk

If you are going to make your own, all you need

to children, pets and especially the person who has

is vinegar, lemon juice, bicarbonate of soda and

the chore of cleaning toilets. Bathroom cleaners

some elbow grease.

contain sodium hydroxide, sodium hypochlorite

Drain Cleaners

(bleach), or phosphoric acid. Mixing acid-containing toilet bowl cleaners with cleaners that contain

Chemical drain cleaners are among the most

chlorine will form lung-damaging chlorine gas. Your

dangerous of all cleaning products. Most contain

safest best is to avoid both ingredients.

corrosive ingredients such as sodium hydroxide and sodium hypochlorite (bleach) that can permanently


burn eyes and skin. Some can be fatal if ingested.

Bicarb and Lemon Juice. For removing a stubborn stain, like toilet bowl ring, mix enough bicarb and lemon juice into a paste cover the ring. Flush toilet to wet the sides, then rub on paste. Let sit for two hours and scrub thoroughly. For less stubborn toilet bowl rings, sprinkle baking soda around the rim and scrub with a toilet brush.

Prevent drains from blocking, by capturing hair and other drain-clogging particles with inexpensive metal or plastic drain screens, available at local hardware stores. Do not allow large food scraps to wash down the kitchen sink.

Recipe For slow drains, use this drain cleaner once a week to keep drains fresh and clog-free. 1/2 cup bi carb of soda 1 cup white vinegar 1 liter of boiling water 1/2 a used lemon Pour baking soda down drain/disposal, followed by vinegar. Allow the mixture to foam for several minutes before flushing the drain with boiling water.

If you prefer the convenience of pre-made commercial cleaners that authentically care about people and the environment you can find them at health stores near you, but do follow the guidelines provided below to ensure the lowest impact on your health and the environment.

Tips for choosing products with the lowest impact on your health •

Avoid products labelled: 'Danger' and 'poison'

If you purchase a pre-made drain cleaner,

are typically most hazardous and do take

choose one that use enzymes, rather than caustic

note of 'Warning' and 'Caution' too; active

chemicals, to eat away gunk.

ingredients of chlorine or ammonia; a known

Oven Cleaners Lye and sodium hydroxide, which are corrosive and

water pollutant is phosphates, widely used in laundry, automatic dishwasher detergents and other cleaners. When phosphates enter

95 S G

waterways, they act as a fertiliser, spawning

products and solutions to change current cleaning

overgrowth of algae; APE's (these ingredients

practices to improve sanitation, water treatment

are rarely, if ever, disclosed on labels); Choose


products made with plant-based, instead of

productivity, quality of life associated with rural

petroleum-based, ingredients.

sanitation and also the health and well-being of









those of us who are exposed to cleaning products



in ours home and office space.

Greenwashing: itself



or 'biodegradable', that doesn't necessarily

OptimusBio works on the principal of biomimicry

mean it's non-toxic. A product that claims

and uses none of the above ingredients but rather

biodegradable in 3 to 4 days holds more

focuses on using biotechnology through bacteria

meaning than just stating biodegradable as

and enzymes; natures way of cleaning. Enzymes are

most substances will break down with enough

naturally-occurring proteins produced by all living

time. Claims like 'no solvents', 'no phosphates',

organisms to speed up chemical reactions.

or 'plant-based' are more meaningful than vague

OptimusBio uses Nanotechnology for disinfection

terms like 'ecologically-friendly' or 'natural'.

purposes in hospitals and labs where it is required

Although 'organic' in the grocery store refers

and they also produce biodegradable products that

to foods grown without synthetic pesticides,

break down within 24 days.

in chemistry it refers to chemicals that are

OptimusBio is transparent and offers detailed

carbon-based, including some VOCs (volatile

MSDS on each of its 72 products currently on the

organic compounds) that release harmful


fumes and may cause brain damage or cancer.

They also sell concentrated refills on all their

Additionally, watch out for products labelled

products. Recyclable packaging and when it is not

organic. Often there are only an ingredient,

possible for consumers to recycle they will take all

such as plant oils, which can be labelled

packaging back to ensure it does not end up in

'certified organic'.


To reduce packaging waste: Select products in bottles made with at least some recycled plastic. And choose concentrated formulas, which contain only 20% or less water. Because dilution with water is done at home, not at the factory, concentrated cleaners overall require less packaging and fuels for shipping.


Please contact Lisel for more information: References: •

Who's doing what locally? OptimusBio is a local and spin-out company from the CSIR backed by excellent product and process technology, that provides eco-friendly biological

Dr Raj Lalloo: Chief Scientist Bioprocess Development CSIR

We have THREE OptimusBio Eco Starter packs (which includes a 500ml dishwashing liquid, 1l dishwashing liquid refill, Spray & Wipe + refill (surface cleaner), Multi Task + refill (bathroom cleaner) and Floor Cleaner + refill (floors, carpets and upholstery cleaner) to give away. Simply send your full name and address to to stand a chance of winning.

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Are you looking for green cleaning chemicals? We can help! We are an eco-friendly cleaning chemicals manufacturer Blendwell Chemicals has a great range of certified green cleaning products. Our products are ideal for hotels, lodges, schools and cleaning service providers, as well as the food and industrial industries. Blendwell is one of the first cleaning chemical manufacturers to get the Global Green Tag certification in South Africa, which means you have a green product you can trust. We began manufacturing our Enviroblend range of green cleaning chemicals over 7 years ago. We are constantly adapting and improving our green cleaning chemicals as the technology becomes available, which means that there are regularly new green cleaning products added to our range. Our range of eco-friendly cleaning chemicals are non-toxic and low risk. All our raw materials are environmentally friendly as they come from sustainable and renewable plant-based resources. Our packaging is recyclable..... and our products ARE EFFECTIVE!

• • • • • •

Enviro Greendet - dishwashing liquid Enviro Disinfectant - safe for use with septic tanks Enviro Liquid laundry - for washing with built in softening agents Enviro Enzyme D-Odour - odour remover and bacterial based cleaner Enviro Degreaser - for removal of all oils and grease Enviro Glass and Surface Cleaner Non-streaking, Quick Drying & Non Toxic formula

Why choose Enviroblend as your green cleaning chemical brand from Blendwell Chemicals? • • • • • • • •

We are level 2 BBEEE We manufacture locally Proudly South African We are an innovative and experienced manufacturer We offer free training and technical support We produce specialized green cleaning products We are eco-aware and eco-certified We have global eco-specifier accreditation through Global Green Tag

L ifestyle

FASHION We take a look at some more eco-fashion breakthroughs and trends.

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THE ENTREPRENEUR SHIRT Two years ago, Tom Cridland decided to start a sustainable clothing business on a meager $8 000 government loan. Today, the eponymous label is immensely profitable. In order to support business owners in the developing world, Cridland has launched 'The Entrepreneur's Shirt' that will split 10% of the sales between two non-profits: Young Enterprise (helping young people get jobs in the UK) and Deki (a provider of micro-loans to small business owners in countries including Uganda, Malawi and South Africa).

Click here for more

BONHAPPI-T Thought up and put together by Durbanites Susan Wright and Felix Schmitz, bonhappi-T is a new, revolutionary South African start-up that launched in 2016. From the price of every bonhappi-T bought, sufficient funds are immediately sent to FoodBank SA or a dog charity, to feed one mouth for one month. The duo spent a year developing the company and have partnered with a few suppliers to make the process of buying the t’s as simple and cheap as possible to ensure that as much proceeds as possible go to the charities.

THE JOINERY AFounded and run by sisters Natalie and Kim Ellis, The Joinery is a South African ethical fashion label created to provide an alternative to traditional, often hazardous methods of production. Established in 2012, it began as a dream to impact local communities through sustainable fashion and has since evolved into an enduring commitment to an environmentally and socially conscious approach to design. Their new 'My Office' range, made from locally produced and sustainable fabric, is the embodiment of this attitude.

Click here for more

USING THE POWER OF THE SUN AND WIND Researchers at the Georgia Institute of Technology, US have developed a hybrid, energy-generating fabric powered by sunlight and the movement of the wind. The team used a commercial textile machine to weave together solar cells taken from lightweight, polymer fibres with triboelectric nanogenerators (a type of technology that converts mechanical/ thermal energy as produced by small-scale physical change into electricity). The new fabric is 320 micrometres thick and woven together with strands of wool.

Click here for more

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IZ Collection According to the World Health Organization, over 65 million members of the global population required a wheelchair in 2010. Despite this overwhelming statistic the fashion industry has hardly addressed this in their designs. People who use wheelchairs have little choice when it comes to fashion. They are forced to wear clothes that don’t necessarily fit or look good on them. Canadian designer Izzy Camilleri’s IZ Collection is tackling this issue head on.

Click here for more

WAIR Bad air is detrimental to human health. According to the World Health Organisation, one in eight of total global deaths are a result of air pollution. To lessen the effect of air pollution, designer Caroline Van Renterghem created a stylish scarf that is meant to filter pollution and monitor the air quality around the wearer. Renterghem designed the Wair Scarf after she contracted a lung infection while cycling through Paris. To protect herself she used an emission mask but found the mask uncomfortable.

TIMBERLAND-THREAD Timberland is partnering with Thread, a Pittsburgh-based manufacturer of sustainable fabrics, to create a collection of footwear and bags crafted from post-consumer recycled plastic bottles. The collaboration, set to debut this year, will be the largest to date for Thread, a certified B Corp that seeks to create economic opportunities in developing countries such as Haiti and Honduras, where the bottles are collected.

Click here for more

HUMAN HAIR AS A RAW MATERIAL? Designer Sanne Visser’s new recycling project repurposes an important resource most of us walk around with daily- the hair on our heads. Her new line, called the New Age of Trichology, utilises the untapped resource of human hair waste, transforming our old locks into durable, flexible rope that can be applied to a variety of uses. As populations around the globe rise, Visser’s hair recycling system could help keep millions of pounds of human hair out of our landfills, and put to use.

Click here for more

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Girlfriend Collective This new company based in Seattle, Washington, recently launched its cornerstone product – basic black leggings that are made from recycled water bottles. Girlfriend Collective (GC) sets itself apart from other leggings manufacturers for a number of reasons. First is its choice of fabric – recycled polyester made from old water bottles. They stay away from Lycra, the commonly used stretchy fabric owned by the billionaire Koch brothers, whose climate change-denying beliefs are at odds with GC's founders.

FAIR TRADE: THE FIRST STEP How is your clothing made? This new short film investigates why choosing Fair Trade Certified clothing is an important first step toward changing the garment industry.

Learn more about Patagonia's partnership with Fair Trade here.

BBC EXPOSES CHILD LABOUR Factories in Turkey are employing Syrian refugee children as young as 10 to make clothes for the British high street, an undercover investigation by BBC's Panorama has found. Broadcast in October, 2016, the news program described the 'very picture of Dickensian misery' as reporter Darragh MacIntyre reported refugees earning barely more than a dollar an hour – well below the Turkish minimum wage – stitching, ironing, and folding garments for Marks & Spencer and the online retailer ASOS.

Click here for more

ECO-FRIENDLY FABRIC: NEWLIFE Newlife by Sinterama is a polyester yarn processed and spun in Italy from 100 percent post-consumer recycled plastic bottles. Processed using mechanical rather than chemical means, it requires 94% less water and 60% less energy, while producing 32% fewer carbon emissions than virgin polyester. Livia Firth, creative director of Eco-Age and co-founder of the Green Carpet Challenge was one of Newlife's early champions when she accompanied her husband, Colin Firth, to the Golden Globes in a Giorgio Armani gown made from the textile.

Click here to see more trend-breaking eco-fabrics

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W ater


The latest water shortages and restrictions lend a charge to this year’s National Water Week, which takes place in late March. Water demand is increasing at a higher rate than population growth, while, as we know, availability is declining due to various factors, including deteriorating water quality and climate change. Most of us are feeling the water stress in our own homes, as well as seeing the dire consequences all around us.


ay to day water-saving is absolutely

with essential trace elements such as calcium and

essential, but there are other simple actions

magnesium, while drawing out harmful chemicals

we can take to preserve the environment,

and metals and binding them fast. The result

while restoring the integrity of the water to which we

is naturally purified water that is enriched with

do have access. If you’re set on taking one decisive

minerals, delicious and refreshing.

step towards a greener, more ‘conscious’ lifestyle in

KURO-Bo Activated Charcoal comes in hand-cut

2017, that is genuinely better for you, your family,

sticks that are quickly activated through 10-minute

your health and the planet, make it a step that really

boiling before each one is added to a minimum of

counts for water, our most valuable resource.

2l of tap water daily. The water can be kept in the

Many of us have doubts that our tap water is

fridge or on the kitchen counter for three hours or

always as healthful as water should be, and we

more to enable KURO-Bo to do its purifying work. All

generally look to filtering systems, that involve a lot

toxins are bound to the charcoal stick, while calcium

of plastics, to help us to avoid chemicals such as

and magnesium enrich the water and improve taste.

chlorine, pesticides and fertilisers, and metals like

A KURO-Bo Activated Charcoal stick can last for

lead, copper and aluminium.

three months, and after that, in line with its green

However, with the recent launch of activated

credentials, there are a number of innovative and

charcoal in South Africa, we can now revive an

beneficial ways to recycle the charcoal, including

ancient Japanese water purifying technique in our


homes, which naturally, easily and economically


transforms tap water through a 100% natural


purification process.

or as a biochar.



air and SG

KURO-Bo Activated Charcoal is specially crafted using the Binchotan method, a process of forming microporous hardwood charcoal that has been used for centuries in Japan to soften water and enrich it S G 102

See ad, right for more details.








HA N D - C U T



FOR AFFORDABLE, NATURALLY PURIFIED WATER WITH A CLEAN AND REFRESHING TASTE! KURO-Bō Activated Charcoal is the NEW 100% organic, recyclable and cartridgefree carbon water filter that naturally improves taste, removes bacteria, purifies and mineralises tap water, while at the same time, balances pH. The ONLY 100% NATURAL, RECYCLABLE and PLASTIC-FREE water filter in SA. The ONLY product in SA to both FILTER and MINERALISE tap water: • Reducing iron, chlorine, manganese, lead, aluminium, copper and mercury. • Enriching with calcium and magnesium. REMOVES E. COLI in only 60 minutes (at 99 CFU per 100ml). No HIDDEN SET UP COSTS, BULKY SYSTEMS, JUGS or MONTHLY CARTRIDGES. Offers up to THREE MONTHS OF FILTERED WATER per stick. IMPROVES TASTE in only 15 minutes. No more WASTEFUL and EXPENSIVE PLASTIC BOTTLES. Can be RECYCLED in a multitude of USEFUL and ECO-FRIENDLY ways. EASY TO USE – simply BOIL, DROP into any container of tap water, allow to FILTER and ENJOY!


call: +27 (0)72 719 8183 email: visit: www.kuro-bo.com103 S G


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Real Meal Revolution Banting 2.0 Jonno Proudfoot and the Real Meal Revolution team

Sugar Free: 8 Weeks to Freedom from Sugar and Carb Addiction Karen Thomson

Burnet Media • 9 781 9282 3044 1

Sunbird Publishers • 9 781 9202 8994 2

Since the launch of the original Real Meal Revolution in November 2013, low-carb high-fat (LCHF) eating otherwise known as Banting - has taken South Africa by storm. The Real Meal Revolution website has seen more than two million visitors since its launch in 2014 and the company supports thousands of Banters on a monthly basis. Inevitably, a topic that has such farreaching health implications and generates so much interest has brought with it controversy, confusion and copycats. Three years after the revolution hit South Africa, it's time for an overview of what has been learnt from the original Banting revolutionaries. Having collated reams of data and overwhelming quantities of personal feedback from those who've embraced Banting and had their lives changed for the better as a result, the Real Meal Revolution returns to bookstores with a comprehensive, authoritative handbook on the Banting lifestyle, incorporating the latest science on LCHF eating, gut health, gluten sensitivity, fasting and more. The result is the evolution of the revolution: a streamlined, accessible, easy-to-read review of what Banting means and how to approach LCHF eating in the most effective way possible. Jonno Proudfoot is a food expert, entrepreneur and adventurer, and the driving force behind the Real Meal Revolution brand. Real Meal Revolution is an online and face-to-face weight-loss and healthy-eating support company.

Are you a sugar addict? Do you crave sweet treats, bread, pasta and sauce-laden food? Do you experience lethargy and mood swings as a result of blood glucose spikes and dips? Does your weight seesaw unmanageably? If the answer is yes to any of these questions, your health is at risk. Where fat used to be the enemy, scientists now point to the huge amount of sugar we consume as making us unhealthy. Sugar Free is packed with recent scientific research and nutritional advice to help you understand addiction to sugar and carbohydrates, including a chapter by Dr Nicole Avena, research neuroscientist, author and expert in nutrition, diet and addiction. It provides eight weeks of meal plans, both vegetarian and non-vegetarian, by nutritionist Emily Macguire, and includes journal exercises to help you break free from the mental, physical and emotional traps of old eating patterns. Sugar Free shows the way to a sustainable sugar-free lifestyle. Its simple and effective eight-week programme to quit sugar will enable you and your family to enjoy dramatically improved health, increased energy levels and weight loss. Author Karen Thomson is living in recovery from addiction to sugar and carbohydrates so has been there and understands exactly what you need to know to break the cycle of addiction and find your way to radically improved health.

From the Inside Out: The Human Dynamics of Sustainability Graham Williams with David Rosenstein Self-published

William Varey of the School of Social Sciences and Humanities, Murdoch University, Western Australia sums up the problems facing company executive and decision-makers when entering into the tricky and complex terrain of 'sustainability' thus: 'On walking into the realm of sustainability the leader is faced with many twists and turns, false signposts and dead ends. They are told about the Triple Bottom Line, quadruple bottom lines and multiple bottom lines, about environmental management systems, sustainability management systems and systems for managing their management systems. They are asked to choose sustainability reporting metrics, sustainability indicators and adopt global reporting initiatives, and to implement clean development mechanisms, greenhouse gas management and eco-efficiency controls. But what does it all mean – and what does it mean to those we lead? Leaders looking for sustainability will encounter all sorts of curious objects while exploring different parts of the sustainability maze. Objects such as ecological economics, ISO 14001 accreditation, the living planet index, lifecycle analysis,

wellbeing assessments, natural capital calculations, deep ecology principles, sustainable development instruments, ecological footprints, vital signs monitoring, integrated impact assessments, biomimicry, ecological integrity, industrial ecology, community visioning processes and ecoeconomy indicators will all appear on the path.' This books sets out to help those making the leap to sustainability more understandable, easier to manage and to do so in bitesized chunks that both managers and their businesses can efficiently and effectively digest.

Mooiloop: The Book Map Studio •978 1 7702 6690 2

Based on the SABC 2 travelogue-style programme, this one (in English) gives the ins and outs of a wide range of those mostly out-of-the-way places to be found on the highways and byways of its principle routes where small-town experiences of an eclectic and unusual variety are to be found. A quintessentially South African book about South African places, some known some new, this one should appeal to everyone with either an active or armchair wanderlust itch that needs scratching. Beautifully laid out, with all the key elements for each place – including local festivals and events, along with the people and even recipes to be found – this is one to have handy the next time a getaway is being planned.

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ON YOUR BIKE Chris & Tim Whitfield Tafelberg • 978 0 6240 7774 9

This is an exciting book, aimed at providing tips and details of trails for MTB (mountain bike) riders. With the emphasis on the practical, we are given advice for both beginners and the more experienced, including the bicycle best suited for our body type, how to develop your mountain biking skills, safety, and trails to suit all skill levels. For those who become fanatics, there is information on the so-called stage races and how to survive them. For each trail there is a map with a gradient profile giving the total distance, total climb in metres, and estimated time to complete the trail. Each write-up includes general background and history of the trail, as well as how to get there, permits needed, degree of difficulty and safety considerations. While the detailed info on trails is concentrated on Cape Town, Durban and Gauteng, nearly every province has an entry, along with Lesotho and Swaziland. Because the Cape has endless mountain ranges, and Cape Town is the S G 106

location of the now internationally famous Cape Epic, many detailed trails are within easy reach of the mother city. Mountain biking in the Cape is now a significant tourist attraction. As both authors are journalists by trade, it is not surprising that this book is well written and achieves its objectives. Mike Finch, editor of Bicycling SA, says Mountain Biking is the new golf. If this is true, this book will have a substantial demand.

OUR ULTIMATE 4x4 TRIPS COLLECTION Marielle Renssen Map Studio • 978 1 7702 6895 4

This offering from Map Studio is the result of the 4x4 travels of the author and her husband. Although many trips were in isolated areas, the author makes it clear that they only went where there were hot showers, flushing toilets and cold beers. Definitely no camping. As a result the book is aimed more at the 4x4 owner who enjoys the bush 'but don't aspire to be the Rambo type'. The list of 22 trips covered is comprehensive, and last from three to ten days. Apart from all South Africa's main game reserves

and other areas of interest, trips are included in Namibia, Mozambique, Botswana and Lesotho. There are detailed maps with GPS addresses for all towns and places of interest, and for each trail a detailed description of the trail with ideas of where to stay, birds and animals likely to be seen and tit bits of local information. The authors have not tried to make their book a 4x4 operators manual, and there is nothing to give you advice on how to run your vehicle, bar for a comprehensive packing list. There are plenty of more technical 4x4 books available, and the author achieves her aim of well detailing specific trips. This book brings together the mapping expertise of the Map Studio and the practical experience of the authors, and if you own a 4x4 or have intentions to do so, this is a must have for you.

101 KRUGER TALES Various Struik Nature • 978 0 6206 1132 9

This book brings together the extraordinary experiences of visitors to Kruger National Park, and truly, some of them are extraordinary. Several of the incidents described

variety and quality. It is difficult to review this book. It is a true tour de force, covering literally thousands of individual life forms. The quality of printing and presentation is excellent. However, it seems probable that this huge effort may not end up on the bookshelves of many readers.

ELEPHANT DAWN Sharon Pincott Jacana Media • 978 1 4314 2415 3

have been seen on a popular local television programme, but there are many more which will test your belief. Of the 101 chapters, some are illustrated by amateur tourist photographs, the result of visitors being at the right place at the right time. The lack of professional quality does not detract from their content; some are truly amazing. Taking at random from the 101 chapters to show the variety of content, there are chapters on a leopard that raided a braai while the visitors sat round the fire, the elephant calf that was caught by the trunk by a crocodile, the buffalo calf that survived a tug-of-war between a croc and lions, the dog that faced up to wild dogs, the guide attacked and mauled by a lioness, the effect of floods, several cars attacked by lions and leopards, and lots more. I was surprised to see pictures of a bull elephant flipping a car on its hood and then interfering with the cars of watching visitors. Having personally spent time with elephants, and taken chances on many occasions, I had always believed this could not happen. Indirectly, this book shows what a national gem South Africans have in the Kruger

National Park, and what a disaster it would be if political or other influences were to be allowed to reduce the size or the quality of the park. If you like to read for a while before sleep, this book with it 101 short chapters is ideal. To be highly recommended.

TWO OCEANS George & Margo Branch, Charles Griffith & Lynnath Beckley Struik Nature • 978 1 7758 4275 0

This fourth edition 464 page guide to the marine life of Southern Africa, covers not only everything that exists in the sea, from whales to seaweed and shells, but also reptiles, birds and flowering plants. It is probably not a book one would buy unless you were a dedicated marine enthusiast, but you can be sure there is nothing in the sea you will not find in the book. The thousands of photographs, some taken by the authors, are of a remarkably high standard. As the guide was first published in 1994, there has been sufficient time to collect photographs from many sources and this shows in the

This book is about an Australian lady who settled close to the Hwange National Park in Western Zimbabwe, and spent 13 years getting physically close to elephant and promoting their cause. It is the intensely personal story of the years of total commitment to the elephants, particularly to eradicate snares and poaching. Like the two previous books by the same author covering the same subject, the content is emotional, made difficult by having to operate with Zimbabwean bureaucracy and Mugabe's politics. The elephants studied by the author were on the Hwange Safari Lodge land, and very accustomed to tourist cars. However, over time, Pincott managed to gain the trust of the elephants, and particularly their matriarchs, so that they became almost tame. One picture shows Pincott kissing the trunk of matriarch Willa, and having elephants up close to the vehicle were a daily occurrence. While many wildlife enthusiasts will recognise Pincott for her objectives, many will also doubt the wisdom of allowing her elephants to become almost tame, and in the process, losing their fear of humans. The cover of the book is misleading by setting it in the 'African Wilderness'. The area has an airport, several lodges and is the headquarters of National Parks for Hwange. But this slip and the overriding emotional tone of the book should not detract from Pincott's 13 years of dedication to the 'Presidential herd'.

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Pets have a right to


sustainable living

optimal nutrition

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At the dawn of 2017, most of us are now very aware of how our consumerist behaviour has affected our personal health and that of our planet's natural environment. The bottom line to the growing consciousness is this: When we eat food that has been commercially and industrially produced, it breeds disease in our physical bodies. When we spend our money on products and lifestyles that perpetuate the depletion our Earth's natural resources, our entire existence is placed under threat. We take a look at where humanity is standing in its journey to a sustainable future.


e are now part of a growing community of global citizens who are living in a way that is aligned to a greater quality of life

(through optimum nutrition) and to addressing climate change (through supporting sustainable industries). Let's look at some current facts that support this claim: •

More and more people are choosing free range meat products.

People are aware of the importance of eating organic produce as opposed to industrially farmed GMO-grown produce.

The sugar and grain industries have been exposed for their ties to commercial food corporations that have no interest in the health of the public.

There is a growing understanding of the link between a multitude of diseases and their connection to sugar, refined carbohydrates and toxic food-additive intake.

We understand how 'big industry' operates in the oil, gas and energy sector and how this is destroying our planet.

The fishing industry has depleted our oceans of entire ecosystems and created multi-species extinctions.

Big food corporations have similarly affected forestation and wildlife throughout the planet through aggressive farming of arable land and rainforests to meet the demand of consumers for cheap food. With all of this knowledge, we as a species are

slowly starting to empower ourselves and create a new autonomy that self-governs how we choose to live. We want to thrive – and so does our planet. So why has this movement been exclusively designated to the human experience in our households and communities? Our mammalian way of living with empathy sees us caring for nature and animals. So, surely our own pets should be allowed the same rights to thrive as we do?

Where Are We Still Falling Short In Terms Of The Rights Of Our Animals To Thrive? Pet owners are often misguided by clever marketing and the pet food industry's agents in terms of what constitutes a healthy diet for animals. Pets diets are often linked to health issues that are the mirror-image of health problems that have escalated in our modern world from the overconsumption of processed food in humans. Obesity, heart disease, digestive problems, organ failure,

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premature ageing, lethargy in dogs and cats are all illnesses that keep the veterinary industry extremely busy and economically stable. The similarity between how the veterinary industry and the human medical industry both profit are startling: Both industries rely on sickness to maintain their monopoly over the health care of people and animals. Both industries treat illness with medicine that is manufactured by a group of exactly the same pharmaceutical companies. Basically, the common denominator between disease treatment in both industries is that both use symptomatic repression through pharmaceuticals to treat illness. Few vets or doctors operating in the traditional way are currently prescribing a natural diet as a way to disease prevention. Far from it. Yet we as humans are moving further and further away from drugs to treat our maladies and we are choosing to use a natural diet to help us thrive. However, we still take our cats and dogs to veterinary professionals who treat our fur babies with the same drugs that we are

Pets are still legally recognised as property and not as natural persons. They don't have the same newsworthiness as us humans. The prevailing corporate mentality has been this: People will feed their pets whatever we put onto the shelf, as long as it is cheap and as long as it is convenient.

now in some instances too afraid to take. Similarly, what many people don't seem to realise

use of melamine in baby formula and pet food,

is that the pet food industry is operated using the

shed some light onto the immoral practices of 'big

exact same model as the 'junk food industry' that has

food incorporated'. Pretty much in the same way as

made people so sick over the past few decades.

commercial food manufacturers like nestle have been

The pet food industry contributes to climate

brought to task for their inclusion of additives and

change, welfare problems, labour issues and an

chemicals in their products which lead to autoimmune

unsustainable food system in exactly the same way

disease in humans.

as 'big agriculture' and the commercial livestock and dairy industries do.

How Do Our Shortcomings Here Affect Our Planet's Chance Of Survival?

strictly for profit, and to make as much money as possible. Their model has nothing to do with the health-interests of animals nor with the interest of environmental sustainability. Since 2007, there has been a recall of pet food products exceeding 1000

The above propositions are pretty big claims. How

different brands in the US alone. The recalls being due

does your choice to feed kitty a bag of whiskers or

to the huge number of deaths of pets shortly after

your pup a tin of bobtail affect our environment?

consumption of these products. Corner-cutting and a

Well, think about it. All commercial pet food

stark lack of regulation in the pet food industry leads

is made from the byproducts of the commercial

to this type of recall-action happening more than what

livestock industry. And it is combined with 'fillers'

you'd think. And more often than not, these stories

derived from the genetically modified spoils of the

aren't discussed or exposed in the mainstream media.

grain industry.

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Most pet food companies run their businesses

Pets are still legally recognised as property

Commercial pet food is packed with chemicals

and not as natural persons. They don't have the

that mirror the likes of what we see in processed

same newsworthiness as us humans. The prevailing

human food. It contains a variety of colourants,

corporate mentality has been this: People will feed

fillers and synthetic substances that make the food

their pets whatever we put onto the shelf, as long as

tastier and extend its shelf-life. The melamine (toxic

it is cheap and as long as it is convenient. Ultimately

food additive) scandal in China that exposed the

the cost of buying cheap pet food will come out – in

the money you fork out to the vet to treat your sick

Vondis strictly refrain from any animal testing.

cat or dog.

As all raw meats can carry harmful bacteria, it is important to cook all meat properly

Which Companies Are Addressing Our Outlines Concerns Sustainably & Ethically?

to kill the bacteria that can cause food poisoning. The optimal temperature to kill all harmful contamination is 72ºC – using a

There are a growing number of individuals who

lower temperature, the meat is thus able to

have empowered themselves with the knowledge

retain crucial minerals and vitamins that are

that exposes the truth about the commercial pet

usually destroyed through the high-temperature

food industry. Similarly to how most of us have now

processing methods used in commercial pet

empowered ourselves with the knowledge that a


daily intake of margerine, white bread or sugar-laden

Vondis do their best to buy only natural

products are a one-way ticket to cancer. Paul &


Cindy Jacobson are two such individuals. Both are as

preservatives or digestives.

passionate about educating consumers on the rights




Vondis ensures that the meat that they use variants of meat that Vondis uses are free range.

is about teaching us that sugar is evil. •

Vondis uses only high-quality pulses like a long grain brown rice, pearl barley, split peas and all

Vondis Holistic Pet Nutrition based in Sea Point,

are GMO-free.

Cape Town. They are so invested on the quality of their product, that they partake in every step


comes from a reputable source. Most of the

for pets to enjoy optimal health as Prof Tim Noakes They are the dynamic owners and operators of


Vondis use only a cold pressed olive oil from

of the process of their pet food preparation. If an

South Africa as a high quality omega rather than

ingredient is not instantly recognisable in its original

rendered trans-fats that the commercial industry

form as it would be found in nature, then Paul and Cindy will not include it into Vondis Pet Food.

is known to use. •

Both Paul and Cindy have enjoyed credible

bones and vegetables rather than getting quick

acknowledgment from certain mainstream doctors and vets who are now beginning to grasp the idea

results from synthetic preserved digestives. •

that health starts in the gut and not via a syringe of chemicals.

Vondis do not use any harmful preservatives – rather they freeze food, naturally and safely.

The latest veterinary studies coming out of

To reduce their carbon footprint and enhance nutritional values, Vondis cook their food using

California, as of June 2014, confirm what Paul and Cindy as well as many nutritionists have been

Vondis cook their own stock from scratch using

the old fashioned method of 'Wonder Bags'. •

The Vondis cooking process is complex and

advocating for many years: That the same nutritional

long. Their wholesome pulses are cooked slowly

science that applies to humans apply to our cats and

for three hours. Their meat is steamed till 72ºC


to kill any possible pathogen or parasite. The

Vondi's Holistic Pet Nutrition follows world-wide

veggies, herbs, omegas are blended entirely

nutritional trends and science that ensures that your beloved pet will receive the optimal and balanced

raw. •

Therefore, you get the goodness of raw plant

diet, but also that the recipe and ingredients follow

nutrition with all of their immune-boosting

international safety standards

enzymes and mineral content and the safety of

In the spirit of working with the global movement

slow-cooked, low-temp heated meat.

toward a more sustainable future for all life on

In 2017, Paul Jacobson will regenerate his profile

Earth, Vondis Holistic Pet Nutrition has outlined

in our local community with his signature radio talk

some non-negotiable rules about how they run their

show on the internet-based 2oceansvibe Radio, as


well as create a more unified relationship between

While the jargon words like 'optimal, balanced,

human and animal health care in a series of

complete, scientific' are embedded in their

upcoming special events.


brand, Vondis also highlight the importance of 'safety first, quality of ingredients and morality'.

For more information visit

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Extreme adventurer, highly respected inspirational speaker and conservationist Braam Malherbe together with rowing partner Wayne Robertson are rowing on the vessel Mhondoro to Rio de Janeiro, launching the DOT (Do One Thing) Challenge. We take a look at this endeavour that aims to highlight the importance of sustainable living.








6 700km, has been undertaken to highlight

you have a purpose behind the ego, nothing is impossible.

the importance of sustainable living and

Robertson, who joined the expedition only a

to inspire the international community to Do One

week before departure, has crossed the oceans

Thing (#DOTChallenge) for the planet in an effort

many times. As a yachtsman and master skipper he

to ensure a sustainable future. Their focus will be

is very familiar with the unpredictability of life at

on the vital importance of protecting our Earth,

sea, but this is his first time as an adventurer. More

mostly the plight and preservation of the oceans,

than that, he took up rowing only the week before

on which all life depends. 'Fifty percent of the air we

the expedition and rowed this particular boat for

breathe comes from phytoplankton and it is under

the first time as they left Cape Town harbour on 7

serious threat,' says Braam. He continues: 'We would


like each person on this Earth to Do One Thing to protect our only home.'

'It is vital that Wayne and I interact and get to know each other. From my past expeditions I

Braam and Wayne will be on the ocean for the

have learned the power of humour as well as the

next two to three months, rowing 24/7 in two-hour

importance of open, honest communication. If I

shifts. This carefully planned schedule ensures that

have the slightest inkling, whether justifiable or not,

someone is always awake at night to avoid the many

that disturbs me about Wayne, I share it and Wayne

ships crossing the ocean. They began their journey

does the same,' explains Braam.

on 7 February and have already covered more then

'The physical challenge is big and the blisters are

2 500km. 'We have had very little sun, which means

there in force, but our hands are already hardening

our solar panel doesn't always charge the batteries

under the torn callouses,' says Wayne. He continues:

effectively. We are, however, managing the power

'We are rowing listening to music and audio books,

and making water is our top priority,' says Wayne.

which make it easier.'

Braam and Wayne have also faced a few storms,

The purpose and significance behind this epic

during one of which the boat rolled over, leaving

row is very important: the DOT movement. DOT (Do

them under the water for five minutes. Braam

One Thing) is a simple acronym that is so much

describes the incident: 'Waves broke over the boat

more than a trend, a fad or a catchphrase. These

and we were turned completely upside down a few

three little letters boldly aim to unite the world in

times. On one of these occasions, the boat didn't

the hope that, together, we can save our planet. By

roll back up, leaving us upside down. We had to

connecting like-minded individuals on a global scale

slowly move to one side without damaging the

through its website ( and

instruments. The boat then came back up, but we

app, the DOT movement encourages every human

were under the water for about five minutes. Very,

being to Do One Thing to protect and preserve our

very scary.'

planet from further destruction and harm.

For Malherbe, who is no stranger to world-first

Braam and Wayne still have a long way to go,

expeditions, this row will be the first he has

but their spirits are high and as they develop their

attempted on the ocean. All his expeditions have

friendship on the ocean, they are practicing the

been driven by a purpose and he believes that when

power of teamwork. They are together 24/7 in

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extreme conditions and, largely due to the storm

call home. Everybody is welcome, from individuals

and a lack of sunshine, they also travelled with

to corporates and companies. Every DOT purchased

almost no communication for a few days. 'It is a

goes to the DOT Foundation (www.thedotfoundation.

challenge as we would like to communicate more,

org). This will help the DOT movement go viral, to

not only with our families but also with all our

enlighten and empower people of all ages to become

followers who are waiting for updates from us,'

better custodians of our finite Earth by providing

says Braam. 'We would like to inspire everybody to

opportunities for training and employment, to

'pull together' with us. If each one of us can Do One

provide public education and advocacy to save the

Thing for the planet, we can ensure a sustainable

planet, to promote bio-diversity, conserve natural

future. In nature, if you are not an asset, you are a

resources and counter global movement. It will also

liability. We, as humans, are not exempt from this

help to develop the DOT Challenge app – our free

fundamental principal.'

tool to make the all-important daily lifestyle changes








needed to save our planet.'


fundraising campaign and is asking the public to actively participate in its success. Malherbe says: 'By purchasing a DOT ( you show the world your support for this global initiative and contribute to the wellbeing of the planet you

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Track Malherbe and Robertson live via the DOT app and on the website:

Water doesn’t come from a tap. Water goes on a long and complicated journey to get to you.

Visit to learn more about where your water comes from. Photo Š Hougaard Malan

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M otoring

   BMW commits to

 electric & h


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Some years ago, Simply Green was selected to be one of just three local magazines considered to be at the leading edge of motoring (locally and international) with respect to covering hybrid and all-electric technologies. We were invited to the unveiling in Munich, Germany, along with a relative handful of other media from around the world, for a glimpse into the technology behind what was then called BMW's Megacity vehicle, now the i3. At the time, with some still literally pouring scorn on the idea of all-electric motoring or even of meaningfully efficient and useful hybrids, BMW seemed somewhat out on its own, along with Toyota and Nissan, in what turns out to have been a world-wide move among manufacturers towards a combination of ever-greater conventional fuel-efficiencies, numerous new hybrid variants and all-electric versions of some popular conventionally-engined offerings. Hardly out on their own any longer, BMW is also forging ahead, not just in some EU and American cities, but here in South Africa, in its roll-out of several model offerings in this class, as well as with the infrastructure that will ultimately support an ever-larger proportion of the national fleet using purely or primarily electric power. We take a look.

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MW South Africa late last year started rolling out solar carport charging for electric and plug-in hybrid models. This

makes South Africa the first market to implement solar carport charging within the global BMW network. The process began in July 2016 and, if you are a major city dweller, should be somewhere not too far away sometime soon – to be followed, one suspects, in many other places in rapid order thereafter, much as petrol stations once blossomed across landscapes urban and rural. BMW says it is providing a 'smart solution to bring

further reduction of charging costs and integrate home solar generating systems with the household and office electricity system'. And that may well be true, but more importantly, what BMW is doing is the beginning of the provision of the crucial underlying fabric of any transport system which requires dispersed fuel – putting up refill points. This means, in short, that electric motoring is here to stay. As part of the expansion of its '360º electric portfolio for BMW I Home and Public Charging Services', BMW South Africa unveiled a solar carport that was being rolled out locally (on a limited basis at first) from July 2016. The BMW i solar carport supplies an average of 3.6kW of solar power (at peak times on a clear sunny day) straight to the BMW i Wallbox, which is used to show a live readout of how much power is being generated by the sun and charge electric and plug-in hybrid BMW models. The BMW i solar carport concept was first shown at the BMW i8 international media launch in Los Angeles in April 2014 as well as the Consumer Electronic Show (CES) in January 2015.

i solar 'With the rollout of the BMW i solar carport, the BMW Group is demonstrating its commitment of

shaping the future of individual mobility – not only with ground-breaking products and services, but also with the global as well as local involvement in the expansion of home and publicly accessible charging infrastructure for electrically powered vehicles. With innovative services like the solar carport, BMW is the first vehicle manufacturer to offer such a broad-based EV smart charging product to reduce costs for customers,' said Tim Abbott,

Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of BMW Group South

under acceleration. The electric assist eases the load on the

Africa and Sub-Sahara.

combustion engine and reduces petrol consumption


when greater performance is required, while energy

Along with the new infrastructure and electric

recuperation on the overrun and targeted generation

car-owner support, BMW has recently unveiled

of electric power under load increase the energy

several models now available to the local market

reserves of the high-voltage battery.

in hybrid or all-electric versions. These include the

Driving Experience Control switches between

i3, mentioned at the beginning of this story, its

ADAPTIVE mode and ECO PRO mode including coasting

high-performance 'cousin', the futuristic looking i8,

function. The eDrive button allows the driver to

the 740e and hybrid X5. While BMW differentiates

select the hybrid function as and when required

the target markets for these models – they are all,

with standard setting AUTO eDRIVE optimising the

in the end, higher and high-end offerings – they

interplay of the electric motor and combustion

are also the way of the future. Which means they

engine and MAX eDRIVE providing for all-electric

are going to appeal to early adopters of automotive


technology. This shift is set to change the way we

The Battery Control setting efficiently raises the

experience the world – it is, nothing less, the way

engine's load points and uses energy recuperation to

and wave of the future.

maintain or increase the charge of the high-voltage battery for all-electric driving later in the journey.

BMW 740e

The hybrid-specific proactive energy management

BMW 'i' technology makes its debut in the new BMW

improves efficiency through parallel technologies

7 Series model range. This technology centres on

such as the link-up with the onboard navigation

the manufacturer's eDrive drive system and carbon


core body structure derived from the development

strategy for optimised efficiency and arrival at the

of BMW i models.

entered destination in pure-electric driving mode.





It features a four-cylinder petrol engine with

Te makers say these various features mean that

BMW TwinPower Turbo technology and permanently

this model offers an 'unique overall vehicle concept

excited synchronous electric motor integrated into

and extensive transfer of technology from BMW I,

the eight-speed Steptronic transmission to generate

delivering leading efficiency in the luxury sedan

a total system output of 240kW and combined

segment'. Adding the vehicle's overall improved

torque of 500Nm; petrol consumption combined:

dynamics and performance, says BMW, is the use of

2.2-2.0l/100km, CO2 emissions combined: 50-45g/

its EfficientLightweight with optimised aerodynamics


(including Active Air Stream kidney grille).

Its lithium-ion high-voltage battery has a gross

With a larger boot capacity than any rival at

capacity of 9.2kWh (net capacity 7.4kWh) benefiting

420l on a level load surface, BMW believes that the

from specific further development for this model,

combination of a prove conventionally-engined

with compact and crash-safe positioning underneath

model with hybrid, electric and other dynamic

the rear seat bench, it can be charged from a

efficiency elements makes this one a contender

domestic power socket in under four hours or from

for anyone buying in this segment and looking

a BMW i Wallbox in under three hours.

at the same time for the most fuel-efficient and

Range on electric power only in the EU test cycle: 44-48kms with a top speed on electric power only of 140km/h. The onboard intelligent operating strategy delivers




up-to-the-second technologies.

i3 & eDrive Flexible and efficient production of electric drive


systems in model-specific configurations is what the

efficiency' and it can be driven on electric power

new BMW push into electric motoring is all about.

alone in city traffic and cross-country. The power

Using the knowledge gained in the development of

from the electric motor boost supplements the

its 'i' cars (i3 and i8) for the production of its own

combustion engine with extremely rapid response

electric motors and high-voltage batteries, BMW

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has surged into previously conventional-engined dominated sectors. Since the launch of the BMW i3 in 2013, the electric drive system expertise developed in-house has






advantage. This is reflected not only in the exceptional performance figures posted by its electric motors and high-voltage batteries, but also in efficient production methods. BMW has employed an intelligent modular system for eDrive technology to enable the manufacture of a wide variety of electric drive components. This flexible product and production concept allows BMW to respond quickly and precisely to customer requirements around the world. The company is extending the reach of its eDrive technology expertise within its international

options, typical SAV versatility and an exclusive

production network. It is already used in production

ambience are all on the sales card for this one.

at the existing locations in Germany and the USA, and will also be rolled out in China in the future.

a lithium-ion battery, which also supplies power

X5 xDrive40e

to the low-voltage battery for the 12V electrical

It may come as surprise to some that the first plug-in

system aboard the BMW X5 xDrive40e via a voltage

hybrid production car from the BMW core brand is a

transformer. It can be recharged by connecting

Sports Activity Vehicle. Permanent all-wheel drive

to any standard domestic power socket or a BMW

and the BMW EfficientDynamics eDrive technology

i Wallbox, as well as at public charging stations.

endow the BMW X5 xDrive40e with sensational

To save space the high-voltage battery is housed

sportiness and supreme poise on the one hand,

underneath the luggage compartment floor, where

and outstanding efficiency on the other. With a

it is also particularly well protected in the event

total system output of 230kW generated by a

of a crash. With 500-1 720l of luggage space, a

four-cylinder petrol engine with BMW TwinPower

three-part folding rear backrest and a luxuriously

Turbo technology and a synchronous electric motor,

designed interior, the BMW X5 xDrive40e also

the BMW X5 xDrive40e achieves a combined fuel

boasts the high versatility associated with a large

consumption of 3.4-3.3lt/100kms and a combined

sports activity vehicle but blended with an exclusive

electricity consumption of 15.4-15.3kWh over the


same distance. CO2 emissions come in at 78-77g/ km. The

There drive options which include Intelligent powertrain control and eDrive button for intense







'exceptionally efficient performance' as well as

hybrid driving and mobility with zero local emissions. The






all-electric mobility with zero tailpipe emissions, as

characterised by versatile and effortless performance.

and when required, ushers in a whole new form of

The intelligent hybrid powertrain control ensures

'commanding' driving experience in a SUV. At the

that the engine and the electric motor act in unison

same time, the BMW X5 xDrive40e reaps the benefits

in a way that optimises efficiency while also catering

of the technology and know-how transferred from

to the driver's wishes. The eDrive button on the

the debut of the BMW i cars. The BMW i8 has blazed

centre console allows the driver to adjust the hybrid

a trail for sustainable driving pleasure with plug-in

drive's operating mode. In the AUTO eDrive basic

hybrid drive power, which can now also be enjoyed

setting, the engine's power is boosted to noticeable

for the first time in a model from the BMW core

effect when accelerating or during quick bursts of


speed by the electric drive, whose full torque of


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The energy for the electric motor integrated in the 8-speed Steptronic transmission is drawn from





250Nm is on tap from standstill for instantaneous

power delivery. The BMW X5 xDrive40e completes the sprint from 0 to 100km/h in 6.8 seconds – not that anyone sensible will be actually timing such things, but just so that you know that big as it is the X5 is no slouch out of the blocks. Alternatively, the MAX eDrive mode can be engaged, enabling the BMW X5 xDrive40e to run purely on electric power – when driving in urban traffic for instance – resulting in zero local emissions. When the high-voltage battery is fully charged, the vehicle has a range of up to 31kms in the all-electric drive mode with a limited maximum speed of 120km/h. The SAVE Battery mode can also be activated at the touch of a button, causing the high-voltage battery's state of charge to be maintained or allowing energy to be accumulated again, for example, by means of recuperation, if capacity is low. In this way, electrical energy can be deliberately conserved for all-electric driving later in the journey. Regardless of the setting chosen with the eDrive button, the power stemming from both drive sources is permanently transmitted to the road via the intelligent all-wheel-drive system, BMW xDrive. The various vehicle set-ups that can be selected with the Driving Experience Control switch – Comfort, Sport and Eco Pro – are also available in all drive modes.

Options All of the driver assistance systems and mobility services from BMW ConnectedDrive offered as standard or as optional extras for the BMW X5 are also available to provide enhanced driving pleasure

BMW i3, South Africa's most successful electric car, is be available in Avis' Point 2 Point fleet in Johannesburg. This is the first time BMW i3 will be available in the car rental sector in South Africa. Point 2 Point is an Avis service that provides customers a professional destination chauffeur service in Cape Town, Durban and Johannesburg. Avis recently purchased three BMW i3 cars for their Point 2 Point fleet and four BMW i8s for their Luxury Fleet as part of their ongoing initiative to lower emissions and introduce alternative energy vehicles into its rental fleet. Since its successful market launch in South Africa in March 2015, a total of 142 BMW i3s and 181 BMW i8s have been delivered to customers, making BMW i3 the most successful electric vehicle in the local market. Internationally, the BMW Group has delivered more than 100  000 purely electric-powered cars and plug-in hybrids to customers worldwide. The BMW i3 alone has sold more than 60 000 units, making it the most successful electric vehicle in the premium compact segment. 'The local and global success of the BMW i models offers clear evidence of the growing interest in sustainable personal mobility. Achieving even greater market penetration of all-electric and plug-in hybrid drive systems depends not only on attractive cars but also committed rental companies like Avis,' said Tim Abbott, Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of BMW Group South Africa and Sub-Sahara. As part of the expansion of its 360° electric portfolio for BMW i Home and Public Charging Services, BMW South Africa launched its first solar carport earlier this year, the first in the BMW Group. 'With the roll out of the BMW i solar carport, the BMW Group is demonstrating its commitment of shaping the future of individual mobility - not only with ground-breaking products and services, but also with the global as well as local Corporate Communications involvement in the expansion of home and publicly accessible charging infrastructure for electrically powered vehicles. With innovative services like the solar carport, BMW is the first vehicle manufacturer to offer such a broad-based EV smart charging product to reduce costs for customers,' added Abbott.

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in the model variant with eDrive technology. An intelligent energy management function is also offered as a special model-specific feature that can be used in conjunction with the Navigation system Professional which is fitted as standard in the BMW X5 xDrive40e. Whenever route guidance is active, data on the route profile is factored into powertrain control along with real-time traffic information. When driving medium to long distances, the system can therefore ensure it is possible to drive purely on electric power on urban sections by using Brake Energy Regeneration and managing the high-voltage battery's energy reserves in a targeted and efficient manner. The hybrid-specific version of the BMW Remote app makes it possible to check the high-voltage battery's state of charge, locate public charging stations or call up efficiency evaluations for the BMW X5 xDrive40e on a smartphone. The auxiliary

heating and ventilation functions can also be activated remotely. The BMW i Wallbox, including installation service, are available for home charging as part of the BMW 360Âş electric concept, offering customers a particularly fast and convenient means of recharging the high-voltage battery while parked. Model-specific assistance services are also available. The ChargeNow service provides cash-free access to all BMW charging stations with the ChargeNow card. Also on offer is the Navigation system Professional as well as an auxiliary heating and ventilation system. This is powered by electricity from the high-voltage battery or from the mains supply while charging. The BMW X5 xDrive40e additionally comes equipped as standard with the Adaptive Suspension Package Comfort including rear air suspension and Dynamic Damper Control. Beyond this, practically all the optional extras offered for the BMW X5 can also be specified for the plug-in hybrid model. The Design Pure Experience and Pure Excellence packages for the exterior and interior are also available for the BMW X5 xDrive40e, as are the M Sport package and the bespoke features from BMW Individual.

i3 & i8 Both BMW's i3 and its supercar cousin the i8 have been extensively covered in these pages pages previously. The best thing to do with such vehicles

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is to experience them personally since they are such a departure form the 'norm' of conventional driving on our roads, not merely because they are both fully electric and can, when required, 'go like the clappers', but perhaps every bit as importantly, because they literally embody a new concept in passenger vehicle driving – the modular carbon fibre frame. Completely recyclable and, with production issues resolved, now clearly the way forward beyond metal or glass fibre bodied vehicles, carbon is turning out to offer us solutions to problems though previously unsolvable. These cars' bodies are both much lighter (80% less than steel and 60% less than aluminium) and much stronger than virtually anything else on the road. Driving them is a huge surprise to those thinking they are getting behind the wheel of a 'suped-up milk cart' – pedal input to acceleration delay is essentially instant and acceleration is delivered immediately. This writer saw a roughly equivalent and older hybrid – a Prius, as it turns out – simply blow away a Porche 911 in a short drag (500m) from a set of lights. BMW's new offerings will no doubt do every bit as well if not a great deal better in any similar showdown. Smart, efficient, light on the road and much lighter on the environment, these hybrid and all-electric offerings are, as we said at the outset, no doubt the way and wave of the future – so get ready for electric motoring sometime in the very near future.


Resources Further information on official fuel consumption figures, specific CO2 emission values and the electric power consumption of new passenger cars is included in the guideline found here. Facebook: Twitter: YouTube:

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Simply Green - Issue 1, 2017  

A new year for Simply Green has started. In this issue we kick off a big GMO debate as well as feature the latest updates from Airports Comp...

Simply Green - Issue 1, 2017  

A new year for Simply Green has started. In this issue we kick off a big GMO debate as well as feature the latest updates from Airports Comp...

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